Baal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words”: Question 5. What is Ohr Hochma? An Ohr (Light) that enters the emanated being in the first expansion of the Direct Light and is the general sustenance and essence of the emanated being.
From the side of the Creator, creation ends at the four phases of the expansion of the Direct Light, Malchut of the world of Infinity. That is, He created the point “from absence” (Yesh mi Ain), which develops along the four phases under the influence of the upper Light surrounding it.
The Creator’s influence upon the point of creation is called the zero phase, Keter, and inside this point, the developmental phases of one, two, three, and four are occurring. The last, fourth phase of the development of the point “from absence” under the influence of the Light is called Malchut of the world of Infinity.
This is what the Creator wanted to give to the emanated being in order to develop the desire to enjoy in this point so that the perception, the feeling of the Light, the attitude of the Giver towards it is regarded as “infinite.” It is clear that we are not talking about physical distances here, but defining the qualities of the internal essence of this point. Now it perceives and feels the Creator, absorbs Him inside of itself without any restriction, which is called infinity, endlessness.
This point of creation completely accepts, without any restrictions from its side, everything that the Creator wants to give thanks to His qualities of being the good that does good. Everything that happens further is already the reaction of the emanated being having reached, with the help of the Creator, such a high, complete, and wonderful development.
Now, accepting everything that the Creator gives it, the emanated being begins to change itself internally and from its own side reacts to the Light that fills it. In other words, this is the guest’s reaction to all the good that he felt from the Host and the fulfillment given by Him. Now, he has to respond to this fulfillment and love that has been revealed to him.
This does not stop at the state of Malchut of the world of Infinity, although from the side of the Creator, the work is complete. Now, the emanated being builds all kinds of screens and concealments inside of itself. It rejects the treat; it wishes to conceal the relationship of the Host toward it until it reaches reciprocity.
Furthermore, all of this is happening inside of the guest, and it is as if the Host does not even know about it. The guest refuses and accepts, puts up various conditions, in order to accept the treat from the Host. Everything that happens below Malchut of the world of Infinity is the internal development of the emanated being desiring to become like the Creator.
That is why “the Light of Hochma is the Light that enters the emanated being in the first expansion of the Direct Light,” meaning during the first direct influence of the Surrounding Light felt by it. Indeed, everything exists in the upper Light, but to the extent of its development, the emanated being feels as if the Light is altering its influence on it. The very first influence of the upper Light onto the emanated being, which is “the general sustenance and essence of the emanated being,” is called the Light of Hochma (Wisdom).
In other words, I am sitting across the Host, and before anything, I see in front of myself all of the “food,” the source of life. Without it, I cannot exist; I will die.
However, after I receive this nourishment and begin to live (as it is said, “if there is no flour, there is no Torah”), I can make calculations regarding my reception. That is why the Light of Hochma is called the basis of life and is present, openly or concealed, in all mutual actions between the Creator and the creature.
Even when we are talking about the state in which there is only one Light, Hassadim (Mercy) and no reception at all, this is said to be “almost” separated from the Light of Hochma. It’s not completely separated from reception, but “almost.”
It is the same in our life up to some necessary, minimal level which is neither condemned nor praised since it is needed to support existence. This is the amount of receiving the bare necessities of life as defined by the emanated being itself.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/19/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot