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Affinity of form is the power that unites

One Stone from a Mountain

One Stone from a Mountain

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One Stone from a Mountain
Affinity of form is the power that unites

How can the Kabbalists say that human souls are part of G‑d in a way which is equivalent to a stone quarried from a mountain, there being no difference between the stone and the mountain except that one is a part and the other is a whole? Even if we are to assume that the stone is separated from the mountain by the metal instrument especially designed for this purpose, still, how is it possible to say such a thing regarding G‑d's essence? And by what instrument could the souls become separated from His essence and leave the state of being included within the Creator in order to become the created? When two people love each other…they cleave to each other as if they were one body…

We are now in a position to understand the matter well. Just as a metal instrument cuts and divides a physical object, splitting it into two, so in spirituality, it is difference of form that divides one entity into two. For example, when two people love each other, we may say of them that they cleave to each other as if they were one body. The opposite is also true. When two people hate each other, we say that they are as far from each other as the East is from the West. We are not discussing their locality, whether near or far. Our intention is whether or not they embody affinity of form.

When a person enjoys affinity of form with his or her friend, each one likes what the other one likes, and dislikes what his or her friend dislikes. They love each other and are as one with each other. If, however, there is any difference of form between them, for example, one loves something even though the friend hates it, then according to the degree of this difference of form, they are removed from each other. Opposition of form occurs when everything that the one loves, the other hates and vice versa. Then they are as far away from each other as the East from the West, at two opposite poles. The will to receive G‑d's pleasure…acts to separate them from His essence…

Difference of form separates spiritual entities in the same way that a blade separates objects of the physical world; the degree of separation being given by the degree of opposition of form. From this you may see that since souls have, innately, the will to receive G‑d's pleasure which, as we have clearly shown, does not exist within G‑d the Creator, they have acquired a difference of form from G‑d. This acts to separate them from His essence is a way similar to that of the blade which splits the stone from the mountain. It was through this change of form that the souls emerged from the totality of the Creator and became differentiated from Him, thus becoming creatures.

However, that which the souls attain of G‑d's light comes directly from His Being, from His essence. So from the perspective of G‑d's light which the souls receive within their vessel - the vessel being the will to receive - no separation exists between the essence of G‑d and between themselves, as the light which they receive is a direct emanation of His Being. The only difference that exists between the souls and G‑d's essence lies in the way that the souls form a portion of His essence. In other words, the measure of light that the souls receive within the vessel, which is their will to receive, already constitutes a part which has separated from G‑d. The antipathy of form which the will to receive embodies is the vehicle which created "the part" as opposed to "the whole." Through it, the souls left the aspect of the whole and embodied the aspect of the part. And so we see that there is no difference between G‑d and the souls except that one constitutes a whole and the other constitutes a part just as in the case of a stone quarried from a mountain. Understand this well as there is nothing more to be said in this very high place!

To continue on to the next article from "In the Shadow of the Ladder", Transforming the Worlds, click here.

[from "In the Shadow of the Ladder" by Mark and Yedidah Cohen]

Mark Cohen ( Ph.D.) and Yedidah (Amanda) Cohen (M.B., B.S.) have translated from Hebrew the "Introduction to Kabbala" by R. Yehudah Leib Ashlag, providing additional explanatory text (www.nehorapress.com). They and their four children are long-time residents of Safed.
Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag (1886-1955) was known as the "Master of the Ladder" from the name (in Hebrew, the "Sulam") of his 21 volume commentary on the Zohar. He also authored a 6 volume explanation of the work of the Ari called 'Talmud Esser Sephirot'.
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