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Loven HaElyon, According to the principal of "G‑d made one thing opposite another," the unholy Laban has an opposite equivalent in holiness — called Loven HaElyon ("the supernal whiteness"). (a) This is an extremely elevated level from which Akudim, Nikudim and Berudim descend; (b) Alternatively, this signifies Abba of Atzilut which produces two daughters, Leah (the upper partzuf of Nukva) and Rachel (the lower partzuf of Nukva).

Malchut, literally "royalty", "kingship". Malchut is the tenth and final sefira. In the arrangement of sefirot in three columns, malchut is situated at the bottom of the middle axis, directly beneath yesod. Malchut corresponds to the "crown" of the procreative organ (the corona in the male; the labia in the female). Malchut is often referred to as "the world of speech," and is therefore also associated with the mouth. Malchut contains two completely opposite qualities, exaltedness (hitnasut), and its opposite — humility (shiflut), like a king who rules over his subjects with authority and majestic dignity, while humbly accepting the authority of the King of Kings upon himself. Technically, this means that the most elevated sefira, keter (crown), is wedged in malchut — the end. The reverse is also true — malchut is wedged in keter. This means that the final product, malchut, is the original intention of the entire process of emanation. When malchut is still contained in the original intention (that is, in keter), it is in a state of exaltedness and is the source and justification for the existence of all the other sefirot. But when it descends to its place as the last of the sefirot, it is in a state of humility. Thus, on one hand, malchut receives all that it has from the other sefirot, and is described in Kabbala as "having nothing of her own." The Zohar therefore compares malchut to the moon, which has no light of her own. On the other hand, malchut is the final revelation of the divine light for which the entire process was begun. It was for the purpose of malchut that all the sefirot were emanated. In one's service to G‑d this means receiving upon oneself "the yoke of the kingdom of heaven" with total devotion and commitment.

Mashiach (or Moshiach) "anointed one," or "Messiah." Mashiach is the direct descendant of King David, from his son Solomon, as mentioned in the prophetic writings. Three mitzvot that will be fulfilled through Mashiach: a) he will rebuild the Holy Temple, b) he will gather the exiled Jewish people to their homeland, and c) he will be crowned king. This series of events (collectively called "the Redemption") will usher in an era of eternal, universal peace and true knowledge of G‑d, called "the messianic era."

Mayin Dechurin, (Aramaic)literally, "masculine waters." This denotes the outflow of benevolence from the donor to the recipient. This is the active element of the partnership between Zeir Anpin and Malchut. The feminine aspect arouses the male aspect (mayin dechurin) to issue his seed below through the sefira of yesod. In the sefirot above, this means that malchut (mayin nukvin) arouses Zeir Anpin to unite with malchut in the state called yichud zu'n (the unification of Zeir Anpin and Malchut). See Hamshachat Mayin Dechurin.

Mayin Nukvin, (Aramaic) literally, "feminine waters." This is the receptive element of the partnership between Zeir Anpin and Malchut. However, this is not a merely passive receptivity, but rather an active receptivity that elicits the outflow of mayin dechurin. The feminine aspect arouses the male aspect (mayim dechurin) to issue his seed below through the sefira of yesod. In the sefirot above, this means that malchut (mayim nukvin) arouses Zeir Anpin (mayim dechurin) to unite with Malchut in the state called yichud zu'n (the unification of Zeir Anpin and Malchut). Rachel embodies the quality of mayin nukvin in Kabbala. See Haalat Mayin Nukvin; Hamshachat Mayin Dechurin.

Memalei kol Almin, (Aramaic) literally "that which fills all worlds",immanent divine light that permeates all of Creation so that the subject that it enlivens can sense it as his life-force and interact with and respond to it. This form of divine light is of a finite order that can be confined within a finite creature. Cf. Sovev kol almin. See also Or Makif / Or Pnimi.

Merkava, literally"chariot." The Divine Chariot is the vehicle for the revelation of G‑dliness in the various worlds. In essence it represents the ultimate in submission to G‑d's will. For this reason the Patriarchs are called the merkava, for they were the consummate examples of such self-surrender. The Merkava described in Ezekiel's prophetic vision (Ezekiel chap. 1) is the vehicle for G‑dliness in the world of Yetzira. Meditation on various aspects of the merkava became the focus of an important stream of Jewish mysticism.

Mesirut Nefesh, (a) actual self-sacrifice or martyrdom, or the power inherent in every Jew to abandon oneself for the sake of G‑d; (b) in Chassidic terminology this signifies total devotion to G‑d unto death. The power of mesirut nefesh of a Jew is drawn from the hidden love of G‑d (ahava mesuteret), transcending rational intellect that is innate in the soul of every Jew by virtue of its root in G‑d's Essence. The potential for mesirut nefesh is found in every Jewish soul, even in sinners, and is predisposed to be revealed when a person faces a challenge to the Jewish faith or a life-threatening ordeal.

Mochin (Aramaic), literally "brains" or intellectual faculties, sing. moach. A generic term for chochma, bina and daat. Often signifies an intellectual mode of divine service. The mochin of Abba and Imma correspond in human anatomy to the two upper lobes of the brain, while the moach of daat corresponds to the medulla oblongata. The mochin illuminate the middot (emotional qualities) in an immanent way when they are clothed within them.

Mochin d'gadlut, Mochin d'katnut, (Aramaic) mature and immature intellect or mindsets, respectively. Mochin d'gadlut is a state of expanded intellectual understanding or maturity. Mochin d'katnut is state of restricted or immature intellectual understanding — the higher intellectual faculties, chochma and bina, are immature or inactive. Mochin d'katnut is restrictive and pedantic, exhibiting primarily middat hadin (austerity tending towards severity). This state is therefore associated with the name Elo-him. Mochin d'gadlut, on the other hand, is a state of intellect in which the higher intellectual faculties, chochma and bina are mature and active. Mochin d'gadlut is magnanimous and tolerant, exhibiting primarily middat harachamim (compassion). This state is therefore associated with the name Havayah — the Tetragrammaton.

Nefesh, a generic term for the soul. More specifically, refers to the lowest level of the five levels of the soul. Nefesh provides the life-force of the body and is therefore sometimes referred to as the "vital soul." Accordingly, the nefesh also provides a person with the awareness of his physical body and the physical world, the world of Asiya. Just as in the world of Asiya, malchut is the dominant sefira, so too in the nefesh, which corresponds to the world of Asiya, the attribute of malchut — action — is the dominant characteristic of this aspect of the soul. The divine service associated with the level of nefesh is acknowledgment of, and submission to, the supreme authority of G‑d, particularly in reference to the fulfillment of the Commandments. It is therefore called "accepting the yoke of Heaven" — kabbalat ol malchut shamayim."

Nefesh Ha'behamit, the "animal soul" of the Jew which originates in kelipat noga. It is animalistic in the sense that its natural predisposition tends towards self-indulgence and physical gratification, or at best self-preservation. Its principal manifestation is in the left side of the heart. However, since a person is endowed with an "intellectual soul" (nefesh ha'sichlit) and furthermore with a divine soul (see nefesh ha'Elo-hit), he is able to achieve a life of intellectual endeavor (by virtue of his nefesh ha'sichlit) and even a life of sanctity (by virtue of his nefesh ha'Elo-hit). Then the nefesh ha'behamit is called nefesh ha'chiyunit, the "vital soul," for it fulfills only its primary function of enlivening the body without indulging its animalistic desires.

Nefesh Ha'Elo-hit, "the G‑dly soul." The nefesh ha'Elo-hit is the "divine soul" that is "part of G‑d above." It is naturally altruistic and seeks to commune with G‑d. The nefesh ha'Elo-hit has ten powers that derive from the ten sefirot, and three "garments" — thought, speech and action that derive from Torah and mitzvot. Its primary revelation is in the brain and it is manifested in the right side of the heart.

Nefesh Ha'sichlit, the intellectual soul. The nefesh ha'sichlit is an intermediary level between the nefesh ha'Elo-hit and the nefesh ha'behamit. Like the nefesh ha'behamit it derives from kelipat noga; nevertheless, its origin is in the higher aspect of kelipat noga. Although the nefesh ha'sichlit is human intellect, it has the ability to appreciate and understand spiritual matters, and is naturally drawn towards their intellectual aspects. Thus it becomes the means whereby the nefesh ha'Elo-hit is able to refine and elevate the nefesh ha'behamit (see Sefer Maamarim 5700, p. 92 ff).

Nekuda, Sefira, Partzuf, three stages in the development of the sefirot. "Nekuda" is a single indivisible point representing the undiluted manifestation of a single divine attribute. Technically, a nekuda is the keter of that sefira only, before the interconnected sub-layers of the sefira evolve. "Sefira" is a further development in which each nekuda is expanded into ten sub-layer sefirot (e.g., the sefira of chochma is expanded into keter, chochma, bina, chesed etc., of chochma, and so on with all of the sefirot). "Partzuf" is the full development of the sefirot into various distinct configurations, called partzufim ("visages" or "profiles"). Each of the ten sub-layered sefirot which already emerged in the sefira stage are further expanded into another ten sefirot (e.g., bina of chochma is further subdivided into keter, chochma, bina, chesed etc. of bina of chochma). Shevirat haKelim occurred in the sefirot in the undeveloped stage of nekuda characterizing the sefirot of Tohu. The rectification and restoration of the sefirot of Tohu takes place via the partzufim of the world of Tikun. See Tohu, Tikun, Shevirat HaKelim, Partzuf.

Neshama, a generic term for the soul. More specifically, this refers to the third level of the soul. The primary activity of neshama is in the conceptual grasp of the intellect, as the verse states, "and the soul (nishmat) from the Al-mighty gives them understanding" (Job 32:8.) The neshama contemplates the manifestation of divine energy in the world of Beriya. Just as in the world of Beriya the primary sefira is bina, so too in the soul — the primary activity is a function of bina -- understanding. The world of Beriya is nascent divine energy. It is the notion of coming into being from nothingness, rather than structured, quantified existence. Thus one of the primary meditations of the neshama is the concept of continuous creation (the coming-into-being) and sustenance of life and existence.

Nesira literally, "sawing apart." Adam and Eve were initially created as a single entity, comprising both male and female elements that were connected back-to-back. Nesira is the process of separating them into the independent entities so that they may unite face-to-face. This takes place on Rosh Hashanah. In a spiritual sense this signifies the separation into independent partzufim of Zeir Anpin and Nukva so that can achieve yichud.

Netzach and Hod, are the seventh and eighth sefirot respectively. In the arrangement of sefirot in three columns netzach is situated at the bottom of the right column of sefirot. It is situated directly beneath chesed, and corresponds to the right leg. Hod is situated at the bottom of the left column of sefirot. It is situated directly beneath gevura, and corresponds to the left leg. Netzach and hod are thus referred to as "two halves of a single body" and function together, just as the right and left legs can only perform their function of walking when they work together. In Kabbala they are sometimes regarded as one sefira (evidenced by the fact that one divine name — Tzevakot — represents both). One root of the word netzach denotes "victory," indicating the power to conquer the barriers between the divine benevolence that flows from chesed and its intended recipients. Netzach in this sense functions as a channel for chesed. One root of the word hod is majesty or splendor — for hod appraises the worthiness and the limitations of the recipient and ensures that the outflow from chesed, mitigated by gevura, and channeled by netzach can be absorbed by the intended recipient, and that he is indeed worthy thereof, so that divine majesty and splendor are preserved. Thus hod serves as a channel for gevura. Netzach can also mean "to conduct" or "orchestrate" indicating is pragmatic nature. Hod is also a derivative of the word hodaa (acknowledgment) and in terms of powers of the soul, signifies the acknowledgement of a supreme purpose in life to which one must totally submit oneself. Netzach is necessary to overcome the external barriers to achieving this. By so doing one achieves "eternity," another meaning of the netzach.

Nukva, (Aramaic) the female partzuf that develops from the sefira of malchut. As a partzuf, nukva (or nukva d'zeir anpin) divides into two particular partzufim, Leah and Rachel, the two wives of Jacob (the third and fourth matriarchs). Leah represents thought, while Rachel represents speech.

Nun Shaarei Bina, "Fifty (nun=50) gates of understanding" that were all given to Moses — excluding one (Nedarim 35b), until he ascended to Har NeboHar sh'nun bo ("the mountain on which nun--the fiftieth gate—was revealed to him). The number 50 corresponds to the fifty times that the Exodus from Egypt is mentioned in the Torah, and represents the development of the seven emotional attributes (middot) within bina into their constituent sub-middot (7X7 = 49), plus one for the word bina itself, representing the fiftieth gate, which is generally unattainable.

Or Ein Sof, a metaphor for G‑d's infinite revelation of Himself. Prior to Creation, there was only the infinite revelation of G‑d that filled all existence. This is called the Or Ein Sof — the Infinite Light. The Or Ein Sof is not G‑d Himself, only His infinite revelation of Himself. Within this infinite revelation, limited beings could not possibly exist. Accordingly, there was a progressive lessening and constricting of the Or Ein Sof, making room for limited existence. This is called the tzimtzum.

Or Makif / Or Pnimi, enveloping (or "transcendent") light" and "immanent light." The difference between the light of sovev kol almin and of memalei kol almin is that although both of them affect all created beings, the light of memalei kol almin is clothed within the created entity in an immanent way, so that the subject that it enlivens can be aware of it, interact with it, and respond to it. It is therefore called or pnimi — internalized light. The light of sovev kol almin, however, is not clothed within an entity in a way that allows the created being to sense it, interact with it, or respond directly to it. It is therefore said to "encompass" or transcend that which it illuminates, and is called or makif.

Partzuf pl. Partzufim, the ten sefirot exist not only as individual manifestations of divine attributes, but are also arranged in various distinct configurations, each called a partzuf -- "visage" or "profile"-- each with ten sefirot of its own. All the partzufim are described by names that characterize the way they function as partzufim

The partzuf of the inner aspect of keter is called Atik or Atik Yomin; the partzuf of the outer aspect of keter is called Arich Anpin; the partzuf of chochma is called Abba; the partzuf of bina is called Imma; the partzuf of the six sefirot from chesed to yesod is called Zeir Anpin; the partzuf of malchut is called Nukva. Furthermore, each of the partzufim from Abba downwards has a higher element (the mochin of the partzuf) and a lower element (the middot of the partzuf): in Abba these are chochma and Yisrael Sabba; in Imma they are bina and Tevuna; in Zeir Anpin they are Yisrael and Yaakov; in Nukva they are called Leah and Rachel.

Powers of the Soul, kohot ha-nefesh in Hebrew. The soul expresses and manifests itself through its powers. Soul powers are divided into two categories: (a) General or encompassing powers, so called because they are not limited to any specific organ, limb or function of the body, but envelop the body as a whole. The general powers include delight (oneg) and will (ratzon). (b) Particular powers, are limited to a specific organ, limb or function of the body, such as the intellectual powers, which are manifested in the brain, and the emotional powers, which are manifested in the heart. The powers of the soul derive from the sefirot above and are sometimes called by the same name: chochma, bina, daat, chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, malchut. They are also known by the attributes they represent. In order of the sefirot the particular powers are: bitul (self-nullification); simcha (joy); hakara, emet or hargasha (consciousness, truth, feeling); ahava (love); yira (fear or awe); rachamim (compassion); bitachon (trust, self-confidence); temimut (sincerity, forthrightness); hitkashrut (connection, empathy); shiflut (humility). There are also three encompassing powers, corresponding to the three levels of keter: emuna (faith, corresponding to Radla); taanug (corresponding to Atik) and Ratzon (corresponding to Arich Anpin. See individual entries.

Radla, Reisha d'lo yada ud'lo ityada (acronym), "the head (or beginning) that is not known and cannot be known". This extremely sublime level is first mentioned in one of the most abstruse sections of the Zohar -- the Idra Zuta (Zohar vol. 3, p. 288b). See also Likutei Torah, Derushim l'Yom Kippur, p. 71c. Kabbalistic texts (Shaarei Gan Eden, Rabbi Yosef Gikatilia, p. 49) explain that there are three "heads" in Atik: 1) Reisha d'lo Reisha (the head which is not a head); 2) Reisha d'lo yada (the head which is not known); 3) Reisha d'lo ityada (the head which cannot be known). However, in Maamarim Melukat vol. 2, p. 107 the Rebbe clearly indicates that Radla comprises both Reisha d'lo yada and Reisha d'lo ityada. Accordingly, we have translated it as the head (or beginning) that is not known and cannot be known.

Ratzo v'Shov, literally "running and returning," or "ascending and descending." In his vision of the Divine Chariot, Ezekiel saw chayot (angelic creatures) drawing the chariot forward. They were in a state of "running and returning." In the human realm this represents the dynamic rise and fall of the soul in its desire to cleave to G‑d (ratzo) and yet fulfill its mission in the body (shov). Ratzo and shov are responses of created beings to the pulsing forth of the Infinite Light into the created worlds below and its re-absorption within its source in the process known as mati v'lo mati. When the Infinite Light pulses forth (mati), a corresponding ratzo is produced in created beings. When the Infinite Light is re-absorbed within its source (lo mati) the corresponding response is shov.

Reshimu, literally "residue" or "vestige." A residue of the Infinite Light remaining in the void (chalal) brought about by the tzimtzum. When it arose in G‑d's will to create the worlds, He "measured" in the Infinite Light the potential that He wanted to exist in actuality. When the Infinite Light was removed from the chalal via the tzimtzum, the aspect of "measuring" remained. This is the reshimu; comprising 231 "gates" (two-letter combinations) called the R'la She'arim, which are the underlying structural patterns of all creation. The reshimu is the source and origin of the vessels of the sefirot.

R'la She'arim, "231 Gates".These are the 231 (reish=200, lamed=30, and aleph=1) possible unique two-letter combinations generated by the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The r'la she'arim are the structural patterns of the reshimu after the tzimtzum.

R'pach Nitzutzin, (Aramaic)the vessels of the world of Tohu shattered into 288 (reish=200, peh=80, and chet=8) "sparks" of holiness. Genesis 1:2 alludes to the primordial world of Tohu being created prior to the world of Atzilut. This world was unstable (merachefet -- comprising two words r'pach and meit) and disintegrated into 288 sparks of holiness that fell (literally died — meit). These 288 sparks subdivided and became imbedded in the worlds and in the kelipot from which they must be extracted and elevated. See Birur; Tohu; Shevirat HaKelim.

Ruach, a generic term for the soul. More specifically, it refers to the second level of the soul. Ruach corresponds to the world of Yetzira. The primary manifestation of ruach is in the emotions, just as the primary activity of the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin (from chesed to yesod) is in the world of Yetzira. In terms of divine service this entails arousing the emotions of love and awe of G‑d by contemplating the divine light that forms and maintains the world of Yetzira, and by observing the tremendous self-nullification of the angelic beings which inhabit it. Although the intellect may be used extensively on this level of soul; nevertheless, the primary focus of the intellect here is contemplation in order to arouse the emotions.

Seder Hishtalshelut, "the order of progression," from the Hebrew shalshelet — "chain." The term signifies the finite sequence of causes and effects (called illa v'alul) that bring about the descent of the worlds from one another. The seder hishtalshelut includes all of the spiritual worlds, together with all of the specific sub-gradations within them. Just as the links of a chain are connected to one another, so that the lowest level of the higher link is attached to the highest level of the lower link, so too the lowest level of the higher world is the source of, and remains attached to, the highest level of the lower world in an orderly chain of descent. Accordingly, a lower level of the seder hishtalshelut is produced by a mere radiance of the level that precedes it. See also Worlds.

Sefira, pl. sefirot, ten divine emanations that serve as channels for divine energy or life-force. By way of the sefirot, G‑d designs and conducts the worlds and interacts with Creation, as the introduction to the Zohar states, "You are He who brings forth ten. . . . sefirot." They may thus be considered His "attributes." The ten sefirot are: keter, chochma, bina, chesed, gevura, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod and malchut. Daat, placed after Bina, is sometimes counted instead of keter. The sefirot are not distinct entities, or intermediaries, which would imply duality or plurality in the Infinite Light or in G‑d. Quite the contrary — they are nothing other than various phases and levels of G‑d's revealing Himself to man. Thus the sefirot are called bli-ma, without substance in Sefer Yetzira. The sefirot constitute the inner structure of each of the worlds, somewhat like the bones give shape and form to the human body. How, and to what degree, the sefirot reveal the Infinite Light in each world gives each particular world its individual character. See each sefira as individual entries.

Shevirat HaKelim, the breaking of the vessels of the world of Tohu due to the intensity of the lights and the immaturity of the vessels. The vessels of the sefirot of Tohu were emanated as nikudim — point-like absolute qualities that did not allow any integration of other qualities. Furthermore, the sefirot of Tohu were arranged in a single column one below the other so that they were unable to function in unison. Accordingly, they could not contain the extremely powerful lights of Tohu. The vessels of the lower sefirot of Tohu shattered into 288 sparks (R'pach Nitzutzin) which fell from their elevated position into what would later constitute the lower worlds.

Shiluv, literally "intertwining", referring to the intertwining of the letters of divine names in order to produce a yichud. Whichever name comes first (as the first letter of the combined name) dominates the yichud. For example, the shiluv of Adni into Havayah produces Yud-Alef-Kay-Dalet-Vav-Nun-Kay-Yud. This is yichuda illa (the higher yichud) signifying that time and space (which originate in the name Adni) are nullified in G‑d's Infinite Being (indicated by the name Havayah). The shiluv of Havayah (Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei) into Adni (Alef-Dalet-Nun-Yud) produces Alef-Yud-Dalet-Hei-Nun-Vav-Yud-Hei. This is yichuda tata'a (the lower yichud) signifying that the existence of space and time is permeated with the Infinite.

Soul Powers, see Powers of the Soul.

Sovev Kol Almin, (Aramaic) literally, "encompassing all of the worlds." This refers to the Infinite Light that is not confined to any vessel or constrained by the limitations of the recipient. It transcends that which it illuminates. Sovev kol almin acts in a remote, imperative, unidirectional manner (i.e., from above to below, but not vice versa), and does not become part of that which it illuminates. It therefore "encompasses" them in a pervasive and transcending form. Accordingly it is also called or makif — "enveloping light." (See Tanya chap. 48; Sefer HaMaamarim 5703, p. 31). See also Or Makif / Or Pnimi.

Tiferet, literally "beauty" or "harmony", the sixth of the ten sefirot. In the arrangement of sefirot in three columns tiferet is situated in the middle of the central column directly beneath daat (or beneath keter, when daat is excluded) and above yesod, and corresponds to the upper torso (in particular, the heart). Tiferet harmonizes and synthesizes the boundless outpouring of chesed with the severe restriction of gevura, so that a proper mixture of the two will result in a bearable revelation of chesed to finite created beings. Tiferet is referred to as "truth," for its outflow depends on the merit and worthiness of the recipient. Nevertheless, ideally, tiferet tends toward chesed so as to allow for focused compassion. It is therefore also known as middat harachamim ("the attribute of compassion or mercy"). In addition tiferet is referred to as "beauty" for its harmonious blending of the sefirot produces the quality of beauty.

Tikun, 1) rectification, restoration. See Birur. 2) The world of Tikun, the purpose of which is to rectify, restore and uplift the shattered vessels of the world of Tohu. Often used synonymously with Atzilut. The first world to be formed after the tzimtzum was Adam Kadmon. Some of the actual light of Adam Kadmon was projected outward via several channels, called einayim, ozen, chotem, peh (literally, "eyes, ears, nose, mouth.") An effulgence, or reflection of light, was also projected outward from the "forehead" (metzach) of Adam Kadmon. (Of course these terms are only metaphorical and merely signify different levels of light and stages of development of vessels that emerge from Adam Kadmon). The flow of light that was reflected from the forehead of Adam Kadmon formed the light and vessels of sefirot of the world of Tikun. Due to the manner in which the lights of the sefirot were emanated, as a reflection rather than a direct illumination, the intensity of the lights was far less than the lights of the world of Tohu (which could not be contained in vessels due to their intensity). Furthermore, the vessels of Tikun were also broader (i.e., every vessel integrated the qualities of all the other vessels, so that chesed was mitigated by gevura, and gevura was sweetened with chesed). In addition, the sefirot of Tikun are arranged in three columns (whereas those of Tohu were in a single column, one below the other) enhancing their ability to work harmoniously. Tikun rectifies and restores the shattered vessels of Tohu and will eventually be in a position to "inherit" the original lights of Tohu.

Tohu, also called Nikudim, was a prior form of creation, alluded to in Genesis 1:2. The world of Tohu was created in order to be destroyed and was destroyed in order to be re-created. The first world to be formed after the tzimtzum was Adam Kadmon. Some of the light of Adam Kadmon was projected outward via several channels, called einayim, ozen, chotem, peh (literally, "eyes, ears, nose, mouth.") These terms are obviously only metaphorical and merely signify different levels of light and stages of development of vessels that emerge from Adam Kadmon. The light that emerged from the eyes of Adam Kadmon formed the light and vessels of the sefirot of the world of Tohu. In Akudim, the level that preceded Tohu, the lights of all ten sefirot were contained in a single vessel. In Tohu the lights of the ten sefirot were contained in ten individual vessels. However, due to the manner in which these vessels were emanated (as nikudim — point-like absolute qualities containing no admixture of other qualities, so that the sefira of chesed was absolute chesed, untempered with gevura, and vice versa) and because they were arranged in a single column one below the other so that they were unable to function in unison, they could not contain the extremely powerful lights of Tohu. The vessels of the lower sefirot of Tohu shattered into 288 sparks (R'pach Nitzutzin) which fell from their elevated position into what would later constitute the lower worlds. These sparks became embedded in creation. See Shevirat HaKelim.

Tzelem, the Divine "Image" in which man was created and in the aura of which he goes about (see Psalms 39:7 — "Ach b'tzelem yithalech ish").The word tzelem is constructed of three letters: tzadik, lamed, mem. The Arizal explains that each letter corresponds to a different level of man. The tzadik refers to the immanent light of or pnimi, that element of reality that a person integrates in order to derive life force. It is symbolized by food, as in the verse (Proverbs 13:25), "Tzadik ochel l'sova nafsho," "A tzadik eats for the satiation of his soul." The lamed represents the makif hakarov (the proximate enveloping or transcendent light), which corresponds to "clothing." The mem is the makif harachok (the distant enveloping or transcendent light). It corresponds to one's house, the spiritual space in which a man lives.

Tzimtzum, the self-contraction or self-limitation of the Infinite Light, thereby allowing finite worlds to be created and to exist. Prior to Creation, there was only the infinite revelation of G‑d — the Infinite Light — filling all existence. Within this infinite revelation, finite worlds and beings could not possibly exist. When it arose in G‑d's Will to create the worlds and all their inhabitants, He contracted and concealed the Infinite Light, creating a "void" in which finite existence can endure.

World, Hebrew olam (pl. olamot), from he'elem — concealment. The worlds are descending planes of reality brought about by the progressive concealment of Infinite Light through the process of tzimtzum. Prior to Creation there was only the infinite revelation of Infinite Light that filled all of existence. Within this infinite revelation, finite beings could not possibly exist. Accordingly, there was a progressive concealment and constriction of the Infinite Light, called tzimtzum, making room for limited existence. The tzimtzum brought about five worlds — various planes of reality distinguished by the degree to which Infinite Light is concealed in each of them. They are, from highest to lowest, Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya. The entire physical universe is the lowest aspect of the world of Asiya. Certain sefirot (or groups of sefirot) predominate in each of the worlds — keter in Adam Kadmon; chochma in Atzilut; bina in Beriya; Zeir Anpin in Yetzira and malchut in Asiya. See individual entries for Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya.

Yabok, a tributary of the Jordan River that was the location of Jacob's nighttime encounter with the angel of Esau (Genesis 32:23-33). As such, it signifies the struggle between good and evil. When the name Havayah is intertwined (shiluv) with the name Elo-him the severity indicated by the name Elo-him is sweetened by the mercy of the name Havayah. The combined numerical value (gematria) of these names is Yabok, 112 (yud=10, beit=2, and kuf=100).

Yesh Mi-Ayin, creation ex nihilo. Finite being (yesh) is not created by a long chain of gradual reduction of the Infinite Light until the yesh is created, but rather by way of a radical "leap" that allows for the creation of finite and corporeal entities. In the cause-and-effect descent of illa v'alul, the alul (effect) was already contained within the illa (cause), albeit in an undefined state. Thus the final effect is not a newly created entity; it is merely revealed from its former state of concealment. Accordingly, the effect always remains in some way commensurate with the original cause that produced it. Thus the infinite can never become finite through gradual reduction: "The creation of the worlds is not by way of a development from cause to effect… for even myriads upon myriads of dwindling and evolution from level to level [of the Infinite Light] in a causal process will not bring about the development and being of physical matter… Rather, it is the power of Ein Sof who creates ex nihilo, not progressively, but by way of a radical 'leap'" (Likutei Torah, Devarim 46c). The "leap" which allows for the creation of finite and corporeal entities is called tzimtzum. However, since it is the power of Ein Sof who creates, as the verse states, "Everything is from You" (I Chronicles 29:14), why is it called "ex nihilo" — "from nothing"? The answer is that G‑d's power to create and sustain the Creation is called "nothing" because it is merely a radiance or reflection that is incomparable to His Essence and makes no change thereto.

Yesod, literally "foundation", the ninth sefira. In the arrangement of sefirot in three columns yesod is the next to last sefira of the central column, below tiferet and above malchut. In the male, it corresponds to the procreative organ, and in the female to the womb. Its position expedites its function as the connector between all of the sefirot that precede it, and the recipient, malchut, below it. Yesod acts as the channel or distribution point through which the higher sefirot pour their outflow into malchut, the recipient. In order for the distribution to reach its intended destination, there must be a proper channel of communication between the giver, yesod, and the receiver, malchut. The distributor (yesod), must be able to identify the recipient (malchut) in order to match each portion with its intended recipient. To achieve this, there must be an internal bond between yesod and malchut. Yesod arouses the desire to receive in malchut, and malchut in turn arouses in yesod the desire to give (see Haalat mayin nukvin; hamshachat mayin dechurin). In this way, yesod unites itself with malchut in complete empathy, so that the "giving" is direct, face-to-face, and not indirect, back-to-back. Thus yesod is identified in the Torah with the tzadik (righteous one), as in the verse, "and the tzadik is the foundation (yesod) of the world." Joseph the Tzadik is the embodiment of the sefira of yesod. Furthermore, in the human image of the divine, yesod is the organ whereby the seminal fluid, which derives from the brain, is dispersed into malchut. Yesod is also referred to as the brit, the holy sign of the covenant between G‑d and Abraham, the first Jew.

Yesod Abba, the ten sefirot exist not only as individual manifestations of divine attributes, but are also arranged in various distinct configurations, called partzufim, each with ten sefirot of their own. All the partzufim are described by names that characterize the way they function as partzufim. The partzuf* of chochma* is called Abba. Yesod corresponds to the organs of procreation. Yesod Abba is thus the channel through which the flow from chochma reaches the other partzufim.

Yetzira, the "World of Formation" from the word tzura — form or formation. Yetzira is the third of the four immanent worlds, between Beriya, above it, and Asiya below it. The primordial matter of Beriya is endowed with generic form in Yetzira. It is the spiritual abode of the category of angels called chayot; it corresponds to Ruach in the soul of man.The sefirot of Zeir Anpin predominate in Yetzira. See also Worlds.

Yud Gimel Middot HaRachamim, the Thirteen (yud=10 and gimel=3) Attributes of Divine Mercy. These appear in two forms in Scripture: the more prevalent form, uttered by Moses, is found in Exodus 34:6-7: "E-l, Rachum v'Chanun, Erech, Apayim, v'Rav Chesed, v'Emet; Notzer Chesed, l'Alafim, Nosei Avon, v'Fesha, v'Chata'a, v'Nakei." ("Mighty One, merciful, and gracious, long-suffering, serene, abundant in kindness, and truth, storing kindness to thousands, bearing iniquity, transgression, and sin, acquitting"). [Note that according to the Arizal the Thirteen Attributes begin with the name E-l, and not with the name Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei]. The second form is found in Micah 7:18-20: "Mi E-l Kamocha, Nosei Avon, v'Over Al Fesha, Lish'eirit Nachalato, Lo Hechezik L'ad Apo, Ki Chaftez Chesed Hu, Yashuv Yerachameinu, Yichbosh Avonoteinu, v'Tashlich Bimtuzlot Yam Kol Chatotam, Titein Emet l'Yaakov, Chesed l'Avraham, Asher Nishba'ta La'avoteinu, Miyemei Kedem" ("Who is G‑d like You, who pardons iniquity, and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not maintain His anger forever, because He delights in kindness. He will again show us compassion; He will suppress our iniquities. You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Show faithfulness to Jacob, kindness to Abraham, as You have sworn to our fathers from days of old"). The Zohar (vol. 3, Idra p. 13) explains that the Thirteen Attributes uttered by Moses are for the sake of life in this world and derive from Zeir Anpin, whereas the Thirteen Attributes mentioned by Micah are for the sake of the life of the soul and derive from keter. The latter are therefore of a higher order" (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero in Eilimah Rabbati, ma'ayan 3, tamar 4, chap. 14).

Zeir Anpin, (Aramaic) literally "the miniature face" the configuration of the sefirot from chesed to yesod to form a partzuf. The ten sefirot exist not only as individual manifestations of divine attributes but are also arranged in various distinct configurations, called partzufim ("visages" or "profiles") with ten sefirot of their own in which one (or a group) of the sefirot is dominant. The partzuf of Zeir Anpin (or Z'A for short) is the grouping of the six sefirot from chesed to yesod into an independent configuration in which the emotional attributes (and particularly tiferet) dominate.

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