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Unread 11-02-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
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âěéó âěéôĺ

What is the meaning of the term found in Chassidus âěéó âěéôĺ? I don't mean literally, but what does it mean in Chassidus. Thanks!
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Unread 11-02-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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Literally, it means that "he made an engraving." If you look at Perek 10 of Sharei Yichud, the Mittler Rebbe brings the complete statement: "[The king] made an engraving in the upper level purity." The upper level purity means Ohr Ein Sof before the Tzimtzum. An engraving implies letters, which implies Malchus (as in, the lowest midah). So the implication is that there is a midah of Malchus before the tzimtzum, which obviously appears problematic. Hence, the necessity for an explanation.

See the rest of Shaarei Yichud for the explanation.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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A friend of mine wrote this in a different context. I'd give him the proper credit, but I don't know he'd want it. I've edited it for form (and some content).

"ářéů äĺřîđĺúŕ ăîěëŕ âěéó âěéôĺ áčäéřĺ ňěŕä áĺöéđŕ ă÷řăéđĺúŕ,"

“In the first (b’reish) desire of The King, [he] engraved anengraving in the supernal purity – the candle of darkness.”

Aside from sounding like something out of a fantasy novel (I can imagine Richard Cypher reading the above out of the Book of Counted Shadows), this line expresses some very fundamental concepts about Kabbalah, and the mystical understanding of our world’s origins.

The essential question that the Kabbalists face is this: The idea that G-d created the world implies that G-d somehow lacked something that the World accomplishes for Him. The answer, not surprisingly, is that the tension between the existence of our world as an entity that appears to be separate from G-d, and the existence of G-d (Who fills the universe), is a paradox that must be accepted on faith. This notion of a paradox is called “Pele,” or Wonder – and it is associated with the Sefirah of Kesser. The attempt of the Kabbalist is the get as close as possible to the Pele both through increasing knowledge* of the relationship of G-d with the world (*associated with the Sefirah of Binah - the third Sefirah, which is the Sefirah of knowledge/understanding through dispassionate analysis), and to increase in Wisdom (associated with the Sefirah of Chochma, the Second Sefirah), that is, to develop and cultivate a spiritual sensitivity. This last part is accomplished, in part, through experiencing the world (through the observance of commandments, all of which involve interaction with the physical world) as a manifestation of G-d. There is more to be said about Chochma, but for now, it is enough to know that one of the differences between knowledge and wisdom is experience (as, I'm sure, anyone who has been on a shlichus, l'moshol, can tell you).

The first desire of The King. Desire is associated with the Sefirah of Keter (Crown), the very first Sefirah.

[He] Engraved an engraving. The engraving implies language. Language is associated with Malchus (Royalty), the tenth, and last Sefirah. In the human experience, if I have a desire, then I will go through the necessary steps to realize this desire. This doesn’t have to be mystical: I desire an ice cream cone. If I don’t have any money, I’ll need to go thebank and get some money. If there isn’t any money in the bank, I’ll have to get a job. If I don’t have an education, I won’t be able to get a job. So in order to buy an ice cream cone, I’ll need to get an education. With the education, I’ll get a job, make money, and buy the ice cream cone. In this metaphor, all that is important is the end result: the ice cream cone. If I could have gotten the ice cream cone through some other means (asking a friend to buy me one, or winning the lottery, etc.), then I would have done it that way. The important thing is the result, not the process. The process is analogous to the Sefiros between Kesser and Malchus: the process by which someone turns the Desire into Reality.

However, in our lives (unlike by G-d, "everything G-d wants, He does [automatically]"), the Desire itself does not cause the fulfillment thereof to come into existence. We need to work to actualize our desires. But “my thoughts aren’t your thoughts.” G-d’s very desire creates its own actualization. This (the fulfillment of the desire through the completion of all of the steps necessary to bring it about) is known as Kesser-Malchus (The Crown of Royalty). This idea is communicated to His creations (ie, you and me) through language. Language, truly, is the stuff of creation - what creation is made out of. G-d created using language, (“G-d said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light”). Language therefore is associated with the realization of a desire. G-d creates through simply speaking His desires.

In the supernal purity. The supernal purity refers to the way in which G-d is entirely simple. Unlike creation, G-d has no component parts. This also refers to the stage “before” the Tzimtzum (contraction). I put “before” in quotes because prior to creation there is no time. All of Kabbalah is metaphorical. It draws upon our experience as a metaphor for the way G-d interacts with creation. The metaphor isn’t perfect, but it is the closest thing we have to understanding G-d properly. The Contraction, as it were, refers to the fact that G-d seemingly cannot exist in the same “place” as the world, without the world being a nullity. This world seems to be separate from G-d, just like a clay pot is separate from the potter. In order to give that illusion of separateness, G-d contracted himself. In reality, of course, G-d did not contract himself. Rather, He gave the illusion of having contracted himself. But practically, from our perspective, we say that G-d contracted himself because He is not apparent in the day-to-day.

When you shine white light through a crystal, it comes out on the other side as a rainbow. When I was young, this always mystified me: the light was white when it went into the crystal. Where did the colors come from? Of course, when I got into middle school physics, I was taught that white light actually contains all of the different colors. When you shine the light through the crystal, it causes the colors to separate. This is a contraction. Another contraction occurs when a person is suddenly startled, his muscles all contract at the same time. This is the instinct to flee causing the person to want to run in every direction at once, like a deer in the headlights. When he collects himself, he eliminates all of the choices of directions other than the choice to run in a single direction. This, too, is a contraction.

The Tzimtzum is the contraction of the infinite number of possibilities (infinite numbers of possible sefiros, etc.) into the final result of our world.

The Candle of Darkness. This is a paradox. A candle gives off light, not darkness. Light,in Kabbalah, is a metaphor for revelation of G-d. Darkness is the absence of revelation. So our physical existence is “dark” inasmuch as we don’t see G-d as being a part of our day-to-day lives. In reality, there is nothing in the world that is separate from Him. But we do not perceive His presence. Our lack of perception does not govern reality. Reality is that nothing is separate from him (leis asar panui minei). The truly discerning person – like Dovid HaMelech, or Avrohom Avinu, etc. – through growing in wisdom and sensitivity, is able to discern the reality of G-d’s presence despite His apparent concealment.

In the language of Kabbalah, the Candle of Darkness is associated with the Gevurah of Atik (“The strength of the Ancient [of days].”)The mishna teaches: who is a strong one? One who conquers his inclinations. In other words, strength means holding back, or severity. It is the opposite of Chesed (loving-kindness). But “leis smalah b’hai atika” (“there is no left-side/severity in the Ancient [of days].”). The Ancient of Days refers to Kesser, the first Sefirah. The idea of Gevurah or severity/strength within Keter/desire is a paradox (because simple desire is not constrained). What the “Candle of Darkness” means is that the seemingly constricted world of darkness that we perceive is really included inside the “supernal purity” (that is, within G-d Himself, prior to the Tzimtzum/constriction) just like the colors are included within the white light, before the light is refracted through a crystal. Compare this, once again, to the ice cream cone mashal I brought above: Your desire to get the ice cream cone includes in it all of the steps necessary to realize the desire, the Kesser-Malchus. It also includes each and every other possible path towards the attainment of the goal (including paths that are inappropriate, like punching a child and stealing his ice cream cone). But the simple desire itself transcends all of the possible pathways. Similarly, the Gevurah of Atik is the aspect of limitation that exists within the limitless and transcendent desire. Of course, from our point of view, the desire and its fulfillment are separated temporally. From G-d's point of view, the simple desire creates its own fulfillment. So the world and all of its facets are not separate from G-d at all, even though the world appears limited and separate.

Though from our point of view we exist separate from Him, from His point of view we are included within Him in a way that does not contradict His essential simplicity(*). Our job, before we shuffle off this this mortal coil is to try to experience the unity of G-d by learning about Him (through learning Torah), and through doing His will (doing Mitzvos).

Part of understanding all of this comes from understanding that it is all a matter of perspective. From G-d's perspective, there is nothing other than His essential unity. From our perspective, there is a world, and there is a process through which the world was created. Our job is to harmonize His perception with ours. But when we say that G-d apparently has a Sefirah of Kesser and a Sefirah of Malchut, we don't mean that He is a composite of 10 Sefiros, c''v. We mean that He relates to the world through 10 Sefiros. The Sefiros are tools in the hands of the blacksmith, rather than a part of the blacksmith.


In a side note: You see how a very short statement in theZohar really can take pages and pages to explain. Most of the above is based upon the Arizal's understanding of Kabbalah. He bases his understanding on the seforim that preceded him. And I’ve based my understanding, in part, on the seforim that come to explain him(**). In other words, this is a short summary of the Cliff’s Notes version. I haven’t done justice to any of the concepts I’m trying to describe. But in the space that I have, I hope that I’ve given these concepts enough of an explanation.

“Deep within the spark gushed a flow, splaying colors below,concealed within the concealed of the mystery of Ein Sof. It split and did not split its aura, was not known at all, until under the impact of splitting, a single, concealed, supernal point shone. Beyond that point, nothing is known, so it is called (Reishis), Beginning, first command of all.”

This can be understood, simply, based upon the mashal brought above of the light going through crystal. The colors, though they are revealed as separate colors “below,” really are all part of the same spark “above.” (***) All of the colors were really there, in a concealed way, within the “Ein Sof” (also called the supernal purity). Now, even though the colors appear to have split “below,” that is only true from our point of view because we live in a state of darkness. However, if were were able to see the world from G-d’s point of view, as we will in the yemos HaMoshiach, we would realize that the aura was not split at all. We would be able to see the colors, that is, the whole of creation, as being entirely unified within the body of the King, if only we had the proper wisdom or spiritual sensitivity. This is Chochma. Chochma is the second Sefirah. You might think that such a power would be invested in the first Sefirah. However, Kesser is higher than having any intellectual power, since it is the first Sefirah that is created from the Divine Desire; it is called Reishis. Recall the ice cream cone mashal: the first issuance of the desire to have an ice cream cone is manifest in the mind. The mind realizes the desire to have an ice cream cone, and begins to hatch a plan to get the ice cream cone.

Chochma is also called a point, because Chochma – contrasted with Binah – is the intellectual conceptualization of something that is all-encompassing, and contains all of the details in a general way. This is like the simple beam of white light that reveals multiple colors as it spreads (after it goes through a crystal, for example) from its point-like simplicity (before going through the crystal) to its plane-like multicolored revelation (after going through the crystal).

It is impossible to understand the simple desire, so our intellectual comprehension goes no further than Chochma. (****) Beyond that point, nothing is known, because desire is not “known.” You can realize what the desire is, but you cannot explain it, or why you have it. Try explaining why you like sweet food, and you will find that words fail to express the reasons.

True “faith” in the Kabbalistic mentality is therefore not that intellect says one thing, but you nonetheless believe something else. “Faith” is when you have reached the bounds of your intellect, and realize that your desire to connect to G-d is something much higher than intellect.
Meshulam's notes:
(*) See Sharei HaYichud v'HaEmunah of R' Aharon Strasheler for a great explanation of the dichotomy of perspectives my buddy (we'll call him Dov) is referring to here.
(**) He means Chassidus.
(***) Actually, see Ayin Beis, first volume, parashas shlach.
(****) You may be thinking what I thought when I read this. Perhaps Chochmah here should be Binah. But see Sefer Yetzirah, and the nosef keilim, in the Mishnah in perek alef, Haven b'Chochma, v'Chakem b'binah.

Last edited by Meshulam; 02-04-2011 at 10:23 AM.
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Unread 02-03-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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It continues, but in its unedited state, it isn't fit to print. I'll clean it up, and put it up here.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 10:22 AM   #5
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“(Zohar),Radiance! Concealed of concealed struck its aura, which touched and did not touch this point. Then this beginning expanded, building itself a palace worthy of glorious praise. There it sowed seed to give birth, availing worlds. The secret is: Her stock is seed of holiness (Isaiah 6:13).”

This section continues in the same vein. It describes how the Sefiros are built from Kesser.

Concealed of concealed struck its aura. The light shined down from the most hidden aspect (called “concealed of concealed” here) – the innermost point – within Kesser. Remember, light is a metaphor for revelation. Revelation itself is the method through which the Sefiros are created. After the Tzimtzum described above, G-d builds the Sefiros from Kesser downwards by revealing His light “downward” into the Sefiros.

However, there are really two ways in which this is accomplished: The transcendent (Soveiv) way, and the encompassing (m'male) way.

Here is an explanation of Soveiv: Kesser/Desire transcends all of the steps take towards its fulfillment, inasmuch as each step becomes integral to the final fulfillment (Malchus, the last Sefirah) or actualization of the desire (Kesser-Malchus). In this way, no Sefirah is closer to or further from Keter than any other Sefirah – because each step between the desire and its fulfillment is necessary.

This is one of the ways in which G-d relates to the world: Separate and apart from any hierarchy within creation, each and every part of creation – even the most depraved sinner – is an integral part of G-d’s plan. Therefore, in terms of the fulfillment of the Divine Will, nothing is closer to, or farther from G-d than any other thing. Moshe is described as the most humble person in the world (Numbers 12:3). This is because he could relate to G-d in this transcendent way – he understood that there wasn’t a single aspect of creation that wasn’t essential. Therefore, while seemingly Moshe was the most important person on earth, his importance within the confines of the created world does not necessitate the conclusion that, in terms of G-d’s transcendent desire, he was any more important than any other essential aspect of creation.

Contrast that with M'male. which is not transcendent, but rather hierarchical. Within the plan, there are aspects that are more important, and aspects that are less important. This describes the way in which the Sefiros were built: first Chochma (called Reishit) was built or created, then Binah, etc. So the order of creation is as follows:

1. Kesser (Crown)
2. Chochma (Wisdom)
3. Binah(Understanding/Intelligence)
4. Chesed (Loving-kindness)
5. Gevurah (Strength or judgment)
6. Tiferes (Beauty)
7. Netzach (Perseverance)
8. Hod (Splendor)
9. Yesod (Foundation)
10. Malchus (Royalty)

Which touched and did not touch this point - The statement “touched and did not touch” reads “Mati v’lo Mati,” in the original. It refers to the process through which each individual Sefirah is created: Keter shines its light (remember the light just means revelation) downward into (and thus creating or enlivening) Chochma. This downward flow causes a corresponding desire on the part of Chochma to cleave upwards, towards Kesser. Then Kesser, so to speak, stops the downward flow to Chochma. Chochma then turns from being drawn upward towards Keter to flowing downward (essentially giving over what it received) to Binah. Binah, in turn, is drawn upwards towards Chochma and Kesser. This process is a continual process, which continually builds and enlivens each of the Sefiros (and, ergo, the physical world).

As I wrote earlier, the point of Kabbalah is not to simply be a scientific text or even spiritual textbook. It is supposed to give the reader the tools to experience the relationship between the Creator and the Created (us) through our day to day experience. The tension and release described by Mati b’lo Mati is comparable to the tension and release that is found in music (for example). It is also comparable to the beating of the heart: the brain sends an impulse to the heart, causing it to contract (that’s the tension), then the brain withdraws the impulse, causing the heart to release. There other parables for Mati v’lo Mati as well.

It is also comparable to the ups and downs each of us experiences in our spiritual lives. The point of a spiritual high (when everything spiritually seems to be going right – you learn something that you understand, or you are able to give a heartfelt prayer, instead of just muttering the words of the prayer book without feeling) is to be able to weather the storm when you don’t feel the presence of G-d in any discernible way (that is, when Kesser is not flowing downward, causing you to try to cleave upward).(*) (**) (***)

Then this beginning expanded, building itself a palace worthy of glorious praise. The word in the Zohar rendered here as palace is “Heichala” (in Hebrew, the word is “Heichal”)which is usually rendered “Chamber.” I prefer the word “room" for reasons that will be explained.

Kabbalah is almost like a code: it uses certain terms to relay general concepts. (****) Heichal is one such term. A heichal is a system. In this case, the Zohar is using Heichal to refer to the relationship between Chochma and Binah. Chochma is a general idea. It contains the particulars inasmuch as the particulars are important in order for the ideato be realized. But the particulars are hidden within the general idea. Binah is the analysis of the general idea, and the understanding of the particulars.

For example, you want to create a G'mach that provides assistance to people whose homes are in foreclosure (we’ll call it the Yiddish Investment Directive - Mortgage Assistance Program, or YIDMAP for short) the general idea to create the organization is related to Chochma. However, the particulars are related to Binah. You can create the organization in your living room with one or two good friends. But sooner or later, if YIDMAP is successful, you’ll have to move it to an office. The office will need a small staff, including a secretary. So you’ll need to purchase a program that deals with payroll, or create a spreadsheet on Microsoft Excel. It may sound mundane, but you will also have to make sure that there’s a workable restroom in the office. When potential YIDMAP donors come to the office, they will be turned off from donating if the restroom is dirty – so you’ll need to either hire a janitorial staff, work something out with the building, or assign the job of cleaning the restroom to one of the staff (or do it yourself). You may also want to buy potpourri. You’ll have to come up with parameters for who you help, and how: Do you help only Frum Yidden? What about not-yet-frum Yidden? Or do you help anybody in your neighborhood? Do you only help people who owe less than $100,000 on their house? Or do you even help people who owe up to $300,000? If you don’t establish parameters, you’ll be inundated with requests from people, and will either waste time, or run out of funds. All of these details, from the important (but painful) details regarding who you turn away, to the seemingly distracting details regarding the cleanliness of the restroom - are important.

Binah is the attention to detail. Chochma people make excellent visionaries. But for the vision to come to fruition, a Chochma person would be wise to surround himself with a few Binah people. (*****)

The Zohar here is saying that after Chochma (the intellectual understanding of the general purpose and form of creation) comes into being, the Chochma spreads into Binah, forming Binah –which is called the Heichal/Room/Palace. A room has 6 sides: the floor, ceiling, and 4 walls. The number of Sefirot between Binah and Malchut (non-inclusive) is 6. So the 6 sides of the room represent the 6 sefirot that are called the emotional attributes (Chesed through Yesod).

In English, we refer to the “main purpose” as the “point.” The “point” is a fitting description of Chochma: it is the main purpose, but it is only a point. Within Binah, however, it is possible to get lost within the details (ie, to “miss the point.”) Therefore, the ultimate in any system is to have attention to detail, but to be cognizant of the “point”. This is known, in the language of the Kabbalah as “Nekudah b’Heichala” (the Point within the Room).

[(***) Ok, there should have been an explanation of how Mati v'lo Mati fits into the inyan of nekudah b'heichalah right about here. So I (Meshulam) will add it. Nekudah b'heichalah in this context means that the fruition of Chochma comes through Binah. That requires an interplay between Chochmah and Binah. In the successful system, the tendency will be towards balance. But that still means that there has to be an ebb-and-flow of Chochmah and Binah. In other words, there are times when we need to have attention to detail. There are other times when we need to refocus ourselves towards the main goal. The overall emphasis must be on balance. But we only get there through the ebb-and-flow (the Mati v'lo Mati) of Chochmah and Binah. That ebb-and-flow bears fruit (one of the reasons that my buddy wanted to use the moshol of zivug gashmi for Mati v'lo Mati. You'll see why more clearly after reading the next part). Meshulam out.]

There it sowed seed to give birth, availing worlds. That is, the ultimate plan can be born once Chochma has gone into Binah, meaning, once the vision is given form and content. The Point (Chochma) is compared to seed (called "zerah"), while the Heichal/room (Binah) is compared to a womb (see Mati v’lo Mati, above)(******). At that point, the ultimate purpose is nurtured within the womb of Binah, thus creating the worlds. Chochma is sometimes called “Aba” or father. Binah is sometimes called “Ima” or mother. The Chochma-Binah give and take is sometimes shortened to the beginning letters of Aba v’Ima (father and mother) as “Av’’a”.

Note that the word Heichal is not synonymous with Binah. Rather, a Heichal is any kind of system. It is used in various contexts. Here, it is referring to the systematic reduction of Chochma into component details, and the nurturing of the visionary impulse into practical expression.

“Her Stock is Seed of Holiness.” In other words, though the worlds seem to exist independently of G-d, remember that the original seed is Chochma, which is created by G-d, and is very much subservient to – or nullified before - G-d. Holy means set-apart.

Meshulam's Notes:
(*) Ie, when the lachluchis over the krumah d'avirah isn't flowing downward, giving you that excited feeling. Even if you aren't having an adrenaline rush, or dopamine induced kavannah during Amidah, you're nonetheless frum.
(**) I happen to know that the author here wanted to inlude a mashal to zivug gashmi. It likely would have been interesting, but he felt that the audience wasn't right for it. I'm not so sure.
(***) I don't know that he did a good enough job here of explaining how Mati v'lo Mati fits into the picture. Perhaps editors of the Zohar felt the same way: some girsaos omit it from this paragraph. I am going to add an explanation of the connection between Mati v'lo Mati in the text, but in brackets.
(****) It uses terms like Heichal so that whenever that term is used, the entire understanding of the reader is placed within that one usage. As we learn more and more, our understanding of simple phrases like "Nekudah b'Heichalah" becomes more complex and more refined. That's the magic of Kabbalah.
(*****) LA''D: The Besht exemplified Chochmah. His vision captivated an audience of the finest minds of his generation. But the true growth of Chassidus into a system occurred when the Maggid took the Besht's vision, and created a Yeshivah dedicated to its widespread implementation. There are countless examples of successful movements beginning with people with a netiyah to Chochmah, and being carried into success by people with a netiyah to Binah: Avrohom and Yitzchok, the Alter Rebbe and the Mittler Rebbe. Non-Jewish examples underscore the same point.
(******) You can see how hard he was trying to hint at it here. But I don't think it was enough.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 10:32 AM   #6
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(Zohar), Radiance! Sowing seed for itsglory, like the seed of fine purple silk wrapping itself within, weaving itselfa palace, constituting its praise, availing all.

This statement introduces the ideaof a Levush – a garment. Though the word Levush is not mentioned in this particular line, the reference to the silk wrapping is a reference to a Levush. The reference here is to how the silkworm builds a cocoon that covers the silkworm up. Purple is the color of royalty/malchus. The Zohar has already discussed how the light from Kesser builds Chochma and then Binah. The reference to Binah being a Heichal (room) implied the 6 "emotional" sefiros between Binah and Malchus (Royalty) by reference. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that the next Sefirah mentioned is Malchus, the final Sefirah.

Malchus is connected with action –the translation of the plan into action. Everything before Malchus is a plan. Malchus is the execution. The visionary impulse of Chesed goes into (and impregnates, as it were) Binah (*), which fleshes out the impulse and comes up with a plan. This plan is then “born,” creating ChaGa’’S NeH’’Y. The plan is then put into action through Malchus.

In the macrocosm, Malchus is theSefirah that gathers the plan together (that is, the output of the other 9 Sefiros), and builds the world based upon that plan. Unlike the other 9 Sefiros, Malchus does not have any specific emotional or intellectual dimension. Rather, its sole function is to communicate the plan into action. It is therefore sometimes compared to the faculty of speech. It is called Malchus, or Royalty, by way of mashal. A King’s royalty extends to wherever he is accepted as King – that is, wherever his subjects willingly submit to his laws. It makes no difference what the laws are. The only important thing, in terms of the King’s royalty, is that his laws are kept. The same is true about G-d’s laws: they may appear arbitrary. But they are nonetheless the King’s laws. Malchus is the communication of the desire into action. So in the King analogy, Malchus is the fact that the King’s subjects keep the King’s laws. In the Ice Cream Cone analogy, Malchus is final act of attaining the ice cream cone through whatever methods I employed (whether through punching a kid and stealing his ice cream, or through attending graduate school, landing a job as an attorney, and purchasing fancy ice cream at the Gelatto place down the road) (**).

Malchus is called a Levush, a garment, because outsiders looking at the plan in action do not see the plan, the intellect behind the plan, or the initial desire. They just see the speech and action taken to bring the plan into action. That act is compared to how a silk worm weaves a cocoon for itself. The cocoon hides the silkworm, just like the final action of Malchus hides the initial desires, and the plan involved in bringing those desires to fruition. The Ice Cream seller does not care whether I am a partner at a major law firm, or a beggar spending his last $1.75 on the ice cream: so long as I pay-up, I get the Ice Cream. If I want sprinkles, I’ll have to pay a little more.

Malchus also hides G-d’s desire from the revealed world. Because of Malchus, G-d’s ways are a mystery to us. We see the final outcome: the physical world. But we do not see the purpose behind all things. Therefore, we need someone (or something) to tell us the purpose. Hence the need for Torah, prophets.(***)

Malchus is also another Heichal in this context. Remember that a Heichal is any system, not specifically Binah (like before) or Malchus (like now). This Heichal is the system of putting G-d’s plan into action. It is through the actualization of the plan, which hides G-d within His works of creation, that created beings are able to feel separate from Him. It is the ability to feel separate from G-d that gives us the ability to praise Him. If the praises were coming, as it were, from within him (and, after all, there is nothing but Him (Deut 4:35)), then they would not be true praises. Therefore, the concealment of G-d through Malchus enables Him to be praised.
(*) There he goes again. Tell me if I'm right, if you just go and point out the elephant in the room, its much less awkward.
(**) Where I live, there is no gelatto place down the road.
(***) The Rebbe, which is what my buddy is talking about here.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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With this beginning, the unknown concealed one created the palace. This palace is called (Elokim), God. The secret is: (Bereshis bara Elohim), With beginning, ________ created God.(Genesis 1:1)

The Zohar concludes, based upon all of the above, that the palace/room (that is, the Heichal of Malchus – the systematic method through which His Divine Will creates the world) is called Elokim. The name Elokim is commonly linked with Malchus. In this way, it refers to the way in which G-d creates nature. G-d is higher than nature, and higher than any natural definitions. To call G-d a “creator” is to refer to Him in the very limited context of his relationship with creation. It would be like saying that your brother’s entire essence is that he is your brother. G-d transcends creation.

However, G-d also fills creation, and enlivens creation. Elokim is the name that is used to refer to His relationship with creation.

With that explanation, we turn to the verse, commonly translated: “In the beginning, G-d created…” It almost looks, based upon the syntax of the Hebrew, as though Elokim is the predicate of the sentence, rather than its subject. The problem is that if you read Elokim as the predicate, the sentence lacks a subject. The Zohar beautifully explains away the problem: The subject of the sentence is so lofty, that It cannot be given a name. Therefore, the Torah simply left out the subject. The implication is that if there were a subject, it would be right before the word “created” and right after the word “beginning.”

Rather, the subject of the sentence is the “Unknown Concealed One” (which is implied specifically by the fact that there seems to be no subject of the sentence, ie, the subject ishidden). Elokim is just a projection of the “Unknown Concealed One” within His Divine consciousness (as it were). This is somewhat comparable to the great gap between a person’s public persona (that is, the impression of a person’s character that others get by witnessing the person’s words and actions) and his inner essence or consciousness. A person is not the sum of all of his actions. At the end of the day, you are you. And though others view you in terms of your many actions, you see how your words and actions are simply manifestations of your essential self. From the point of view of the outsider, your words are not who you are –they’re only a hint as to what kind of person you are. The outsider can never truly know your essence. Similarly here: we cannot know G-d, because He is unknowable. However, we can attempt to understand His relationship with the world by studying His works (ie, the world, natural phenomena, the Torah, the works of Kabbalah, etc.(*)). Through those endeavors, we can try our best to understand G-d based upon His manifestation and works – sort of like how we understand our fellow by observing his actions.
Meshulam's notes:
(*) And especially Chassidus.
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Unread 02-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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That's where my buddy left off. You'll have to translate and explain the rest of the Zohar yourselvs.
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