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The Zohar on Creation

September 29, 2013

In the Zohar Ha’Kodesh (Hakdamah; Bereishis (3B) Rabbi Yudai asked:

“What is the meaning of Bereishis?  It means ‘with Wisdom’…which can be analyzed into Bara-Shis “He created Six”.

“And who created them?” asks the Zohar, “The Mysterious Unknown”.

“R Hiya and R. Jose were walking along the road. ‘What you said about `Berei-Shis` –`Created Six`, is certainly correct”. Since the Torah speaks about Six Primordial Days….’Bara’ is always a mystery of closing and opening.

The Zohar brings other passages in support of the proposal that He used Wisdom (Reishis-`Chochma`), and Understanding (`Binah`) to create the Six Attributes of ‘Z’eir Anpin’, (referring to the verse “Mi Bara Eileh?” which, translated into English means “Who made these?”).

While at a simple level, this question appears straight forward: “Mi”, in Hebrew letters has a numerical value of fifty, corresponding to the “Fifty Gates of Understanding”.

(In Aramaic, the word “Mi” is pronounced as “mei”, and is often used metaphorically, referring both to the “Waters of Purification”, as well as the “water that irrigates the garden” of Binah).

The reader is encouraged to approach this through the prism that “preparing the field” would serve as an analogy for acts of kindness and a spirit of generosity and compassion functioning as a key to opening the flow of illumination from His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy into Binah.

While` Binah` of Atzilus is called `Mi`, (meaning “who”?), -it is the Six Emotive Attributes of Z`eir Anpin that are called “Eileh”, or ‘these”.

From this measurement emanates the Six Emotive Attributes of Atzilus’, which are the mainstay of the edifice of Atzilus.

This constitutes the first level of revelation.

The Zohar attempts to explain that while the universe is an expression of G-d`s entire name.  (It begins concealed in the form of a Yud; then couples with an Upper Hey (`Asher Bara`, Drushay Chasonah), then proceeds downwards (distance referring to spiritual descent symbolized by the Vav) into the revealed worlds of `Six Primordial Days` (Chagas and Nihiyi), before its ` final expansion`   into the Lower Hey, (referred to as the mouth or `Malchus`) of Atzilus.

We are not  discussing here the Higher Partzufim (Countenances) of Abba and Imma, (such as Makkifin d` Imah), which are referred to as “encircling lights” and not at all in a state of being revealed into manifest existence in the form of  an “Indwelling” light.

What is inferred, is that when G`-d created the universe, there was a process of “Self-revelation”, primarily of His Emotive Attributes.

Moreover, the word “these” (“Eileh”) has the numerical value of thirty six (6×6=36).

The essential success of this creative process required integration and synthesis.

The ability to regulate intense and turbulent emotions while retaining an inner sense of calm and ability to function testifies to the successful integration co-existence of these conflicting emotional attributes.

In order for mankind to aspire to the ways of the Emanator, He had to make Himself known (Rabbi Shalom Ber Schneursohn, Reishis Goyim Amalek” 1920, Chapter 3).

The intent of the revelation of His Six Emotional Attributes was the first introduction of limits onto infinity – a paradox that can only be established by an Infinitude Being that allows opposites to co-exist.

In other words, G-d reveals His Emotional Attributes in order that they descend through a chain-reaction ending with the 288 sparks where mankind`s participation allows a partnership in G-d`s creation.

‘Bara’ is a term of mystery, a lock without a key. As long as the world was locked within the term ‘Bara’, it was not in a state of being, or existence. `Tohu`, (chaos and fragmentation) hovered over the world.

When did the key appear and open the gates? It was when Avraham appeared. As it is written (11, 4):

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth Be-Hi-Baram (when they were created).
This would also imply that when G-d created the world, He used the final letter of His Name.

Using this “schema”, the Sefiros of Chochma and Binah only “Encompass”, the “Revealed World” of Z`eir Anpin.

This is also consistent with the Maamer “Reishis Goyim Amalek” (1920, Chapter 3, page 8)

The Zohar and most Authoritative Kabalistic writings often use a term such as “Day” when referring to the dimension of `time`. But the spiritual world of Atzilus also functions as a template for other dimensions that were integral aspects of creation, which include space and location of “soul-consciousness”.

The general position of the Zohar`s entire commentary on the Torah is to reveal its multi-dimensionality.

To this extent, Kabala in general will use numerology, spatial configuration of text, and other principles that are accepted as fundamental to derivative learning.

Both in the fields of Self-Psychology, and Cognitive-Psychology, psychological development and trauma-recovery use operational terms that are a mirror-image of this creative process: “Mindfulness”, and “Anchoring”.

Of the Six Emotive Attributes, the anchor-point for the first Three Emotive Attributes is “Tiferes”,

The anchor point for the second group of Three Emotive Attributes is “Yesod”. This allows the creation (such as an individual) to remain grounded and operational in the face of internal emotional turbulence.

The Zohar is telling us that G-d created the universe out of “kindness” (or love) – corresponding to the first of His Emotive Attributes.

Furthermore, because of his “mindfulness”, He prefers to restrain His anger when provoke. This is why the assigned translation of “Tiferes” as meaning “beauty” is limited; since it fails to convey the dynamic play of balancing forces  that preserves  “object consistency”, maintain neutrality in the face of competing emotions.

In order to further illustrate the kabalistic metaphor of “creation” , one might consider the process of self-actualization as a creative process for a therapist in managing his own “Counter-Transference” One discovers oneself by becoming “mindful” of one`s own emotional responses. Despite provocation, we strive to maintain the empathy required to sustain difficult patients despite the negative feelings they elicit in us.

The Zohar refers to the Six Emotive aspects of Atzilus comprising the Six Sefiros of `Z`eir Anpin in the context of “Creation” it uses the term “Primordial Days”.

Time within the dimension of our lower “World of Action”, relative to that of Atzilus, has a conversion value of one day for a thousand years. That is why the Zohar tells us, that just as the world was created in Six Primordial Days, our emotions are in a similar state of diminution, as are our days, when compared to their Archetypal Templates.

(Meaning that He used His pre-existing Attributes of Chochma (Reishis), and Bina (Mi) (also known as `Abba` and `Imma’ or `Yud`, and `Hey`, to create the Six Sefiros of Z`eir Anpin.

Hence, Chochma and Binah (Yud and Heh), are referred to as “Olam` d` Eskasia” (Hidden World),

While Z`eir Anpin (Vav) and Malchus (the Lower Heh), are referred to as “Olam `d` Esgalia, (Revealed World).

How do we reconcile this with the statements brought by the Shiloh Ha’Kodesh from Tikkunei Zohar   (תרח-תרט pages 608-609)      (Ki Tavo, pages 608-609), “You are not scholars at all”. “Do you not know that the universe was built with the initial verse of the Book of Proverbs (Kohelet)?”……

”He who understands the secret of the “Seven Breaths”  referred to in that first passage (Hevel Havalim) as they emerge from the mouth of G-d, is able to understand how all existence came into being”.

The continuation explains that according to the Sh`Lo` Ha`Kodesh and Baal Ha`Tanya, the world was created by the final letter Heh, which was used to express the seven Havalim found in the first passuk of Koheles.

This corresponds to Malchus of Atzilus (the lower Heh of Shem Yud Heh), while the Six Sefiros of  Z`eir Anpin were created by `Abba` and `Imma’ or `Yud`, and `Heh` of Atzilus found in the first passuk of Genesis.

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