Before I begin, I want to dedicate this shiur in memory of Rini Moko. Regina bas Yosef Reuven, for an aliyas neshama, a zechus for this neshama.
I’ve been speaking a lot about the beginning of the bible portion “Lech Le’cha,” and about the mabul---Flood etc. That is the beginning of the task assigned to mankind but which switched to the Jewish people. I’ve spoken of that quite extensively.
Features of the Blueprint
There’s a lot of confusion about what exactly goes into a Creation, the “blueprint.” We know what a “blueprint” is, the plan. The concept of Creation has a blueprint and it is worthwhile to ask what that blueprint is. When you look at the blueprint of a building, you see many components: walls, living-space, plumbing system, air-conditioning, heating. Any building has extensive components--- the same with Creation. What goes into Creation, into the blueprint
G-d made? Certainly, it is worthwhile to look at its scope and what it takes for G-d to maintain such a massive project. There are necessary components that have to be “made” as part of this blueprint for it to work successfully within the “big picture.”
The one who created everything is the ribono shel olam---G-d, the producer. Before Creation, was there anything that co-existed with G-d that didn’t need to be created? What was created? There are three basic prerequisites that G-d created before He made the entire universe, the Creation. There are seven fundamental phenomena, components that comprise the fabric of the entire Creation:
1- Concept of Matter: substance, a thing.
2- Concept of Energy: that which, when combined with matter, creates motion. We don’t really know what energy is. All we see is matter in motion. What’s making it move?—energy. It’s hard to define but it has its rules, its regulations.
There are, of course, many sub-divisions of these two fundamental constituents of a Creation, but I won’t get into that. As an aside, Einstein said that energy and matter are identical; that’s his Theory of Relativity which became one of the most famous of all concepts in all of science, that matter is “frozen” energy. If you could “unfreeze” it, it would be a colossal amount of energy. That’s what the atomic bomb is. Matter is “broken,” subjected to fission, and part of it turns to pure energy.
3- Concept of Space: that which allows a “place” for matter to expand “into.”
If you were to go into space and, while there, you were to raise your right and left hands, you could ask “what’s in between”? You could answer, “nothing” but that wouldn’t be true. There’s space. But space is nothing; that’s the interesting paradox. It exists but there is no matter or energy between your two hands.
We know that space expands in three ways: length, width and height. We live in a three-dimensional spatial universe.
4- Concept of Time: allows for matter to have a duration, continuity. When existence has continuity, we call it “time.” We observe things that exist in it but we don’t know what it is---zman---time.
5- Concept of Life: What is “life”? Is a virus alive or dead? Biologist have criteria for this. A virus seems to be living because it can kill people but it doesn’t manifest some of the properties of life. It doesn’t reproduce or eat. Chayim---life. What in the human being is alive? We move around but no one really understands what is happening. It subscribes to certain properties or features and we call that “life.”
6- Concept of Consciousness: What is it?---awareness. We have it; we are aware, but what is it and where does it come from? What produces it and where does it go when you go to sleep? There are theories about it but who really knows about this very significant aspect of being.
7- Concept of Motion: You’re not aware of this but everything in the universe is in motion. Every atom in the universe is in motion. The concept of motion gives rise to the concept of “heat.” The greater the motion of an atom or molecule, the greater the heat. When you feel heat, what you’re actually sensing is matter in motion. When something is 5000 degrees, the motion of the matter is beyond belief! For centuries, scientists had no idea what motion was.
On the opposite end, if everything is in motion, nothing is still. Let’s assume you have a steel cylinder. The atoms in that cylinder are in motion, are moving, vibrating. Why are they in motion? What make then move? Can I stop the motion, freeze the atom so it doesn’t move? Scientists believe that were all the atoms to stop their motion, that would be a condition termed “absolute zero.” What is cold? It is what we feel when the atoms are moving very slowly. You can take that object to a point at which all atoms stop all motion. Absolute Zero is 273C or 459.67F degrees below zero. The universe is almost absolute zero. It is, I think, 3 degrees above that. No one has been able to impose that state though they are trying. Scientists have achieved the result, have reduced helium or hydrogen---I’m not sure---to minus one tenth of one percent of one-billionth of one degree from Absolute Zero. That’s how close they’ve come.
These are components of olam ha’ze---this world. We don’t know the components of the spiritual dimension. We don’t know the matter, the composition of a malach—angel. We have no idea. Do they exist in time? Space? We don’t know. Are they always in motion? Maybe. They have a whole different set of rules, which is important.
The next question is about motive: Why would G-d make this bria---Creation? What does he “need” it for? I would imagine it’s a monumental headache for which He’d be taking a massive dose of Excedrin---when you look at how much bad is in this Creation. Remember, G-d is limitless, infinite, independent of anything. He has no deficiencies. So why create it? The Torah answers this question. The Torah says, “To do good to you in your end.” He wants to be maitiv---doing good. Therefore, He wants beings that exist to whom He can bestow infinite goodness.
Why would He do that? What’s the motive of the motive? What’s the real motive? The answer is: unknown. G-d has never revealed the motive of the motive. He has His own reasons for creating a Creation and why He wants beings in it to bestow goodness upon.
There is the concept that people offer which posits that G-d wants beings to be aware of Him, of His incredible midot---behaviors, but that’s not true! G-d doesn’t need anyone to recognize Him. He knows Who He is. He is what He is. He is the only One Who knows Who He is. Even if we recognize His attributes, they aren’t really His attributes. He created those attributes! They are part of Creation. We don’t know Who G-d is. Even angels don’t know. We have no concept. That is why, when we pray, we say, “From where can we praise Him?” Only G-d knows where He is. G-d only revealed the preliminary motive but not the ultimate motive. If He ever will reveal it is unknown. It could be that the ultimate motive is incomprehensible. Only G-d can understand why He does something at the level of His intelligence.
It’s very comforting to know that G-d created everything for goodness. If I asked you, “What is the greatest good G-d can give?” what would you say? If G-d were to say to you, “I want to bestow upon you a gift for which there is no greater one; what would that be?” The answer is---existence. I want to be. The greatest good that G-d decided to give a being is to exist in the best possible way. The motive of the bria---Creation is hatava---goodness. He did not create us for anything that He needs.
How will this happen? G-d may have mused: Well, how do I give people existence? G-d says, “I am existence”—which is a whole topic in itself which I will elaborate on in the future. G-d doesn’t have existence; He is existence. G-d says, “I am existence,” therefore I can create and bring things into existence and will allow all those to whom I bring into existence to have it eternally. Therefore, the desire of G-d is that man be dovuk---attached to Him. We don’t really know what that means exactly, but it means that we can exist in the greatest possible way. That is what He wants. That goodness that He wants to give is some kind of bonding, attachment to G-d Himself.
Nearly everything that exists has variations, degrees. Some things are dichotomies; they are this or that. Existence is one of those dichotomies. You either exist or you don’t. We say that the phenomenon of existence is either “A” or “B.” You can’t exist more or less. It would be interesting to contemplate what could it be like to exist “more.” I don’t mean to have a greater zest for life. Is it possible to actually exist “more”? The answer is: yes. If G-d brings you closer to Him---since He is existence itself---you would exist “more.” We have never experienced existence in degrees. G-d does that by having you be divuk---attached. So dveikut is a state in which you exist more. It’s not like anything you have never experienced. This is the essential reward---dveikut. It leads to greater existence---whatever that is---in the Future World where all beings exist in this state of attachment. As you bond to Him from moment to moment, you exist “more” and it goes on forever. That is ultimate hatava---goodness.
There is also the concept of hana’a---pleasure associated with this attachment. Chazal say that tzaddikim sit with crowns on their heads and derive great pleasure from the shekhina---Divine Presence. It’s not as if you realize you exist more and think: ok, so what’s next? The greater attachment/existence, the greater the pleasure. The pleasure is infinite. We don’t understand what infinite pleasure means. Dveikut is the ultimate state that a person can want to achieve and it goes on and on.
A Gift or Reward?
We now understand the fabric of Creation and the motive and the concept of dveikut. That is what G-d wants to give. Now comes His fundamental decision. Is G-d going to give the human being this goodness for free, in that we would be created in a state of dveikut, or we would have to do something and the dveikut would be a reward? This is a monumental decision. If you are given it for free, whenever that is, that’s phenomenal! G-d is forever---"I’m the first and I’m the last,” He says—so as a result, you have that state for all time, eternally. Imagine, a billion years pass and you’ve barely scratched the surface of eternity.
If G-d bestows it for free, that is absolute chesed---kindness or you have to expend effort, take on a task. That’s scary. That is called “din”---justice. It isn’t simply that, if you do something bad, you get punished—no! It is the concept of cause and effect. You do A and cause B. It is not so much about doing good or bad and getting the reward or punishment. It is about doing, about what you caused, the consequence. G-d decides between earning and gifting. This is risky. Why?---because what if you don’t do the work?
Nehama Dekesufa---Bread of Shame
G-d made the monumental decision that you’d have to expend effort in order to earn dveikut. It isn’t as simple as this but this is the basic idea, called “din”---judgement which is, essentially, cause and effect. Why did He do this? I gave a shiur recently about this entitled Nehama d’Kesufa”---Bread of Shame (available on the website) which you can find. In it, I went into detail and explain why we have to earn it rather than it being a matana---gift. There is something to be had by working for it. If you cause something, there is a greater sense of self, greater awareness of who you are. G-d wants that. He wants a person not only to experience dveikut, but a dveikut that he, the individual, is responsible for, that he caused. That gives the person a greater sense of being, because he caused something. I will deal with the notion of the person who doesn’t do what he is supposed to, or doesn’t do enough, and, supposedly, doesn’t get the reward. That isn’t the case even though the equation or formula is that you must do the work to get the reward.
All of this automatically necessitates two places: since G-d decided that you have to expend effort, He has to give you a place to do it. And then after you finish with that place, having done the work, there will be another place where you can have the dveikut. This decision to earn the reward necessitates the Creation of two domains: olam ha’z---this world and olam ha’ba---Future World. That’s why we have two worlds. Olam ha’ba is the place to do what you have to do to earn the reward while the other is where you experience the reward. Olam ha’ze will not go on for more than 6000 years; then it’s over. Olam ha’ba is eternal. This world has only 218 years to go. What a difference between the two!
Even though G-d made it so you have to earn it, the reward is eternal. Imagine you go for a job and the boss tells you that if you work for him for a month, he’ll pay you a million dollars. You’d look at him as though he were out of his mind. That is nothing compared to what G-d offers. From this, you begin to understand how much G-d wants us there.
I will continue with the blueprint of Creation next time: what are the other components that are necessary for G-d’s project, for His program to materialize. All the components are part of the edifice that is the Creation itself. This is part one.
Q & A
Participant: You mentioned the ziv of the shekhina. Can you explain what it is?
R’Kessin: When you meet a person, there are several things which emanate from that person. First, there’s the body itself, then the head. When you look at someone’s head, that’s different than looking at someone’s body. There is some type of life force that emanates from the head. When you look at the eyes, that is where life and existence is centered. Eyes are revealing. There is much to see when looking at someone’s eyes. That’s medically true too. These are different aspects of experiencing another person.
The same is true of the shekhina---Divine Presence as G-d manifests Himself in this world and throughout the spiritual worlds. There are different degrees of experiencing the shekhina. You can experience the shekhina at the level of the lowest sefira, malchut---Kingship, experiencing Him at that level of Light. You can experience G-d at the level of keter---Crown, the first sefira. Are the two equal?—of course not. One is almost infinitely greater, keter compared to malchut---kingship. You experience the ziv of the shekhina at a certain level of holiness. At the level of keter, there are almost infinite degrees of experience. It’s not that you experience it directly because that is too lofty, but you would experience the manifestation of the shekhina at a level of a high sefira, which is keter.
Participant: I also saw the words “za” and “nuk” speaking about the sefiros. What is that?
R’Kessin: “Za” is “zeir anpin”---the revealed aspect of G-d related to the attributes of the emotional sefirot---and “nuk” is nukvah. There are ten sefiros, these emanations, these forces, that G-d sends forth and in each is the ein sof---without end, infinity. The sefiros are vessels that contain the ein sof, conduits that are embedded aspects of the Infinite One. They are subdivided and operate in groups.
When the fourth sefira---chesed---operates, it doesn’t operate by itself. It will operate with five others, six all together, like a company. So, you have chesed, gevurah, tiferet netzach, hod, and yesod. Those six combine and operate in tandem with each other to produce a certain result. That’s called “za” or zeir anpin. When they operate in tandem, they’re called “partzufim---configuration, composite. If you were to look at a face, the composite is comprised of: nose, eyes, ears, forehead, hair, beard, mouth, etc. All of that is a face. When sefirot act together, it is a partzuf, a grouping called “zeir anpin.” It is a specific combination of sefirot operating. Malchut will also operate but does so by itself and that is called “nukvah”---feminine.
The seven lower sefirot, each one and together, create olam ha’ze; that is why there are seven days, each day created by one sefira. The totality of all the days is the configuration of za together with nukvah, manifesting malchut. All these lower sefirot created olam ha’ze---this world. The top three sefiros: -keter, chochma, bina create the upper worlds giving the energy, the light for the messianic era and olam ha’ba.
Participant: When you spoke of the partzufim, that is why each sefira is a right arm, left arm…..?
R’Kessin: Yes, because the human body is a model of the ten sefirot. I’ve spoken of this before:
1- Keter: the crown, the skull
2- Chochma and Bina: three brains---the cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla oblongata although we regard these as two brains
3- Chesed: right arm
4- Gevurah: left arm
5- Tiferet: torso
6- Netzach: right leg
7- Hod: left leg
8- Yesod and Malchut: genital area
The body is a physical model of the sefirot which is why it says we are the “image of G-d.” If you were to line up the sefirot, they would look like a human. If you take the name of G-d, the yud- heh-vav-heh and write them out from top to bottom, you will notice that it appears as a human form. The yud is the head, the heh is the right and left arms with the shoulder, the vav is the torso, and the heh beneath that is the right and left legs.
Participant: Let’s say we use our physical bodies to sin, what happens to the sefirot?
R’Kessin: I don’t want to get too much involved in this, but the sefirot are divided into 613 parts, but there are also 365 sinews and 248 organs. This totals 613, comprising the human. All 613 parts of all the ten sefirot correspond to some organ or tissue of the human body.
There are 613 mitzvot---commandments. When you do a mitzvah, it automatically unlocks, enlightens, sanctifies that very organ it corresponds to of the 613 parts of the human being which corresponds to the 613 parts in the ten sefirot. This automatically energizes that particular organ. That’s called “zikuch---purification.” When you do all the mitzvot, you are energizing, spiritualizing all the 613 organs which energize the 613 parts of the sefirot. It’s a parallel. You are spiritualizing the body to exist in the Future World.
When you sin, what you do is cloud over, cover, the corresponding organ which covers the corresponding section of the sefirot, which covers the Light coming out of the sefira. Once it is covered, the Satan can nourish from that organ creating an entry point for pathogens, bacteria, viruses, molds, whatever. These can now prey on that area of the body that you’ve covered up, spiritually. The origin of all disease is sin on that particular organ.
What would be the tikkun for that? if you knew which organ corresponded to which mitzvah and to which aspect of the sefirot and knew how to do teshuva, you would be automatically cured of every disease. You’d need a kabbalistic doctor and I don’t think the AMA would be happy with that. That’s what the Arizal used to do. He would immediately know what the sin was based on, which organ was affected. He’d know which sefirot were being occluded. The person would do teshuva thereby removing the “cover,” and the pathogen would die and the person would be cured.
All of this was revealed in the sefer---book “Rezeel ha’Malach” in “Refuot”---remedies which was concealed by Chezkiyahu. That’s how they did it. They had a sefer that revealed all this. Chezkiyahu realized that people would do teshuva for the sake of cure and not for the sake of doing authentic teshuva so he hid the book. The rabbis were in accord, agreed with him. It is hidden somewhere in Jerusalem. That book would tell you how to cure every disease known to man based on the kabbalistic structure of the human being. I would bet it is somewhere underground where they hid all the kelim---Temple vessels. Imagine what a gold mine that would be! But the pharmaceutical companies would never allow it because they wouldn’t have to sell you drugs. That book would be the most dangerous book to big pharma.
Participant: Are there any kabbalistic healers now? If so, why don’t we know about them?
R’Kessin: Yes, I imagine so but, if you knew about them, there would be a line outside their doors which would snake around the earth four times.
Participant: But wouldn’t it bring about the ultimate tikkun---rectification for Am Yisrael and then mashiach would come?
R’Kessin: No, because the intent would not be for G-d but to get rid of the disease. That’s why the book was hidden. People would resort to tikkun but not for the purpose of serving G-d. It would get rid of the disease but not bring the tikkun.
Participant: But each of us would be aligned with his sefira and 613 mitzvot so then the shefa---flow would come straight down to B’nei Yisrael and not to the Satan.
R’Kessin: Not necessarily. The critical parts of doing a mitzvah are the physical act and the intent. You’re negating intent. Kavana---intent is critical to bringing down the ohr---Light of the sefirot. That is a very important part. A person has to do authentic teshuva.
Participant: The concept of deveikut….you’ve said that G-d sends concepts to the world so that we can understand things and maybe now that you’ve laid this out about consciousness, it sounds like maybe He’s sent us the concept of “retirement” so we can understand dveikut.
R’Kessin: How so?
Participant: It’s like dveikut; we’re gonna work for it like we do in our modern society (by working at jobs). In this world, everyone has to work and they can’t wait to retire; they really can’t wait.
R’Kessin: You refer to two stages of life. The first stage is when you labor and the second is when you enjoy the results of your work---retirement. Yeah, ok. You’re right. There are two worlds: olam ha’ze when we do the work, and olam ha’ba when we reap the reward for eternity.