The unification that we make daily [at the culmination of the Amida prayer, when reciting the final bracha: "Sim Shalom/May You grant Peace"] is a unification that needs to be understood and said with full concentration. This meditation has been explained in many places because this daily unification is based on that written in the Torah [and hinted at in the verse, "Hear, O Israel/Shema Yisrael,] G‑d is our L-rd; G‑d is One." [for the unification inherent in that verse is preparation for the unification to be made at "Sim Shalom"] and [the three Names mentioned: "Havaya" is our "Lord", and "Havaya"] they are all [three aspects of] One. That is why they are called "One".

Now there are three [occurrences of G‑d's] names here, so how are they one? Even though we say the word "One" at the end of the proclamation, how is that they are actually one? The secret of this is made known through a vision of Divine Inspiration . They become part of the mystery of the closed eye [that we close our eyes while making this declaration], to make known that the three are one. [The Arizal explains that this is the union of Abba (chochma) and Imma (bina) and da'at, and afterwards at the word "One" meditate on raising tiferet and malchut in the secret of "Ma"N" and to intend that then Abba and Imma and da'at unite, and then the higher consciousness is drawn back down to tiferet and malchut. Then meditate on drawing them down through those three Names: Havaya Elokeinu Havaya.]

And this is the secret of the audible sound. Sound is one, and has three aspects – fire, air, and water - which are all one in the secret of the sound. [They are three aspects [chesed, gevura, and rachamim –the three lower sefirot of Kindness, Severity and Mercy – like the three main colors of the rainbow] but are united as one.

Also here, "G‑d is our L-rd; G‑d" are all one for they are the three [higher] colors [on the tree of the sefirot – chochma) and Imma (bina) and da'at] that are really one [consciousness]. And this is [represented by] the sound that a person emits when professing the unity, placing his will to unite all by means of the unification affected by this sound he produces through these three [fire, wind, and water] which are one [sound]. Thus he intends to unite all from the Endless Infinity to the completely finite. This is the daily profession of unity that has been revealed by means of Divine Inspiration.

Many manners of unification are spoken of, and they are all correct. Whoever creates this unification does well and good and one who does another does well and good – [causing activity in the spiritual realm]. But this unification that we awaken from below, by means of sound which is one, clarifies the matter [and is the essence of all the unification meditations]. It is a general meditation. Besides that, all the other meditations are more particular as has already been stated.

The fourth passage [in the Tefillin] is the secret of Severe Judgment; [gevurot of da'at, so it is written in them:] "Take heed to yourselves" and "so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you." (Deut. 11:16,17)

These are of the head Tefilin. The hand Tefilin's passages are similar to those [of the head Tefilin], but they are in one compartment. We have already commented that they all pertain to the same secret [of unity into one].

The knot of the head Tefilin is in the shape of a letter dalet, and of this it is written: "And you shall see my back" (Ex. 33:23) [and the Sages commented on this verse that it is referring to the head Tefilin]. Therefore, the knot is in the back where everything is tied into one knot –[understanding combined together with reality by seeing the results of Divine action – "achorayim"].

When one dons the hand Tefilin to connect [malchut to tiferet], there is another knot [which is in the shape of the letter yud, hinting to yesod which begins with yud –representing actively drawing Divine consciousness into the physical world]] This is the secret of the Holy Covenant . This secret is explained in many places, and it is all the same secret. Happy are Israel who know this secret. A person must don them [head tefilin and hand tefilin] every day to be in the celestial image [for G‑d also wears Tefilin] Of this [tefilin] it is written: "And all people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of G‑d; and they shall be afraid of You" (Deut. 28:10).

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

Does G‑d really wear Tefillin, as taught (Berachot 6a): G‑d wears tefillin and His parchments contain the verse: "Who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation on the earth." [Chron. I 17]?
Even though we may deem ourselves sophisticates, we are all children to G‑d, and thus, in our limited capacity to understand intellectually, need a visual metaphor to connect to. For if we, who are created in the Divine image, are to walk in all of the paths of G‑d, so too must we do what He does: feed the poor, visit the sick, bring the bride to the altar, etc.

Can we move past the child's vision of G‑d as an old man with a beard? Are these anthropomorphisms still required to serve G‑d? Or can we instead bond with Sacred Eternal Energy, the Presence of Being in Action, the Flow of Spiritual Lifeblood into all Creation? If our Sages still relate that G‑d at the Sea of Reeds appeared as a young warrior with a black beard, and at Mount Sinai as a scholar with a white beard, perhaps there is more in this analogy that meets our inner eye.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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