Preface to the Science of Kabbalah. Items 3-5

ptichaPreface to the Science of Kabbalah (“Pticha”). Items 3-5, summary:

3. The order of distancing, of the weakening of the desire to bestow, resulting from the development and growth of the desire to receive, from above (from bestowal, similarity to the Creator) downwards (moving away from Him) – happens along five degrees or five worlds: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. The World of Assiya includes our world (HaOlam Hazeh). “World” – Olam comes from the word Olama – concealment, because to the degree one grows distant from similarity to the Creator, the Creator becomes concealed.

All creatures originate and have their root in the World of Infinity, in the Thought of Creation to “delight the creatures,” in their initial state.

4. The distancing of the creation from the Creator is necessary for the following reasons:

  • To give creation (man) an opportunity to be independent. This is accomplished through the complete concealment of the Creator in our world.
  • The gradual distancing occurs through the Light’s fulfillment and its subsequent expulsion. These contrasting states create sensations, realizations, and experience in the desire, giving it the opportunity to compare, and thus make it suitable to achieve its intended purpose.

The creation’s purpose is the following: after its forced descent into our world, it is to use its free will and awareness to compare and to choose bestowal over reception. Thus, by choosing that similarity to the Creator is the most important thing, creation must gradually ascend to Him, until reaching full equivalence and adhesion with Him.

5. The degrees, the structure of creation, and all the actions are determined by the nature of the Light and the desire.

Phase 0: Light (the Creator’s attitude to the creature) emanates from the Creator’s plan to create the creature in order to delight it by making it similar to Him (the small state is not considered complete). This phase is called zero or the root. It incorporates the future creature in the form of a point of the future desire, similar to a drop of semen or a seed.

Phase 1: The Light influences the point of desire, developing it to Its own size and then filling it. The desire feels the fulfillment, called the Light of Wisdom (Ohr Hochma). Because the desire is fully dependent on the Light, it doesn’t feel anything besides mere existence, like an embryo within a womb. This phase contains everything that the Creator had allocated for the creature.

Gradually the desire becomes aware of its distinction from the Light and wishes to become like the Light – bestowing. This new desire is defined as a new phase:

Phase 2: This is the desire to bestow to the Creator, to be like the Light. As a result of this, the desire feels a different kind of pleasure than in phase 1 – the pleasure of being similar to the Creator, the Light of Bestowal (Ohr Hassadim). However, gradually the desire realizes that it merely desires to bestow, but does not actually bestow. This realization results in the emergence of a new desire – “to receive for the sake of bestowal,” and this is already defined as phase 3.

Phase 3: The desire receives like in phase 1 (the Light of Hochma) with an intention like in phase 2, and feels that it bestows, like the Creator (the Light of Hassadim). Due to the sensation of being on the Creator’s level, a new desire develops – phase 4:

Phase 4: This is the desire to enjoy the Creator’s status or position by receiving the following from Him:

a) The pleasure of being filled with pleasure, and
b) The pleasure of being similar to Him.

Since the desire receives everything that can possibly emanate from the Creator, phase 4 constitutes a fully developed desire.

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