Saturday, July 22, 2017
Rabbi Mendel Kessin
Synopsis is not necesarrily in Rabbi Kessin's own words
Hashem is not spiritual nor is He an entity. He transcends both, yet He created a representation of Himself that we can relate to in some way.
The purpose of creation
- The motive Hashem chose to reveal to us regarding why He created the world is that He wanted to give the ultimate good to another
- We do not know why Hashem activated that motive
- The only true good is Hashem. Therefore the other – or “zulaso” – would need to be davuk to Him to experience it.
- Hashem is, by definition, the only entity to exist. This precludes the existence of anything else, including concepts.
- He therefore “needed” to create an environment that, on some level of reality, allows for another.
- The operation Hashem performs to accomplish this is called tzimtzum – constriction – by means of hiding an aspect of His true nature.
- The job of Adam – and later the Jewish People specifically – is to reverse the tzimtum to a certain point thereby allowing for enough revelation of Hashem’s presence for us to be davuk to Him as much as is possible.
- The following explanations are an attempt to put in a few words the most esoteric concepts. Please understand these explanations probably do not do these concepts justice.
Level 1: God Himself
- Hashem Himself completely transcends and beyond any other creation
- No creation can or ever will grasp, understand or experience His true nature by definition
- We can call this Atzmuso
Level 2: Ain Sof – The Infinite
- This is not Hashem Himself, but the beginning of the representation of Him that is presented to the briah. It is the first level we can at least have some sort of understanding of.
- This representation possesses the attribute of ain od milvado – the only thing that can exist & there is no other. Hashem Himself transcends even this attribute.
Level 3: Ohr Ain Sof – The Light of the Infinite
- This is an environment that allows the potential for a space to be emptied of the presence of the Ain Sof (of course, in a deeper reality, Hashem’s presence is only hidden. In reality His presence remains everywhere)
- This is the first instance where the potential for a zulaso – another who can receive Hashem’s good.
Level 4: Chalal – The Void
- Hashem figuratively empties His presence from an area. On a deeper level of reality His presence is still everywhere.
Level 5: The Kav – The Beam
- Hashem caused the Kav to enter the chalal
- The Kav is a beam of the divine presence of Hashem that presents itself in a limited capacity.
- The limitation is that it hides its nature of ain od milvado
- This allows there to exist in the chalal both Hashem’s presence and zulaso
Notes on the levels of Hashem’s presence
- To reiterate, on a deep level of reality Hashem’s presence remains everywhere
- None of these levels are spiritual. They all transcend spirituality.
- The Torah starts after this. The first letter in the Torah is a bais. This alludes to the fact that the Torah comes into play when a zulaso (a second entity) does.
- All realities (except the first, of course) are called “Olamos”. This loosely translates to worlds, but more accurately translates to “the hidden ones”. Each olam is a concealment of Hashem’s presence in relation to the one before it.
- Ain Od Milvado – There is nothing but Him
- Atzmuso – His self
- Briah – Creation
- Davuk – Bonded
- Tzimtzum – Constriction
- Zulaso – One other than Him