The Jewish People are commandment to build a Temple, as it is written, "They shall make for Me a Temple, and I will reside within them" (Ex. 25:8).

The following are the integral aspects of the Temple's construction: it must have a section called "Holy" and one that is called "Holy of Holies". Before the "Holy" there shall be a space called the "Hall" [in Hebrew, "Ulam"]. All three together are called the "Chamber" [in Hebrew, "Heichal"]. A wall should be built surrounding the Chamber at a distance similar to the distance between the Tabernacle and the fence that surrounded its courtyard. All that is surrounded by this wall, similar to the courtyard of the Tabernacle, is called "Courtyard" [in Hebrew, "Azara"]. The entire structure is called the "Sanctuary" [in Hebrew, "Mikdash"]. Inside the Temple there shall be the vessels enumerated in the Torah: the ark in the Holy of Holies, the Menora, the Table, the inner Altar in the Holy, and the outer Altar in the Courtyard. The primary purpose of the Temple is to facilitate the revelation of divinity…

The primary purpose of the Temple is to facilitate the revelation of divinity, i.e. "and I shall reside within them" (Ibid.). We are therefore commanded to construct the Temple so that it mirrors the structure of the worlds as they are emanated from the essence of G‑d.

To explain, in Mishnat Chasidim, the process of creation is described as follows: The Infinite G‑d constricted His light and cleared a place [i.e., emptied it of His light], a circular place, etc. He then drew into this space a column of light. The light descended in circles, creating ten circles one within the other, each circle being further and further away from the Infinite. These ten circles are the ten sefirot: keter, chochma, bina, etc. The descent of these circles was followed by the emanation of the ten sefirot of "straightness", etc., see there (Masechet Alef Beit, Seder Zeraim).

[Author's note: These descriptions are obviously not to be understood in a spatial sense. Chasidut often emphasizes that "surrounding" means transcendent, i.e., unperceivable and ungraspable.]

Although this description seems to imply that both igulim and yosher emanate equally from "column", the truth is that igulim stems from the "great circle" that precedes the column.

Creation is described in Kabbala as a process including "circles" and "straightness", "igulim" and "yosher" (see Etz Chaim, Drush Igulim V'yosher). In short, igulim describe the divine light that does not conform or tailor itself to the recipient of the light. It remains "undefined" and infinite like a circle that has no beginning or end. The source of igulim is the "great circle" that precedes the column of light. Yosher represents the divine light that conforms to the recipient; it is rooted in the "line", which entered the "hollow" space of divine concealment after the original tzimtzum. Yosher refers to the manifestation of divinity through the ten sefirot as they are in the form of a man, the triads of chesed, gevura, tiferet etc. See Derech Mitzvosecha 76b-77a. Igulim "surrounds" and transcends its subject and is not internalized, while yosher is identified with "ohr pnimi", a light that is internalized by its recipient. Igulim is the source of transcendence, faith, beyond nature and rules, while yosher is the source for revelation, immanence, intellect and emotions, internalization, and the natural order.] The covers and boards that surrounded the Tabernacle mirror the surrounding lights that are beyond Atzilut

The meaning of this is as follows. It is known that the internal, permeating light, ohr pnimi [related to yosher], is the light that provides revelation of divinity within each realm according to its specific properties. The light that "surrounds", ohr makif [related to igulim], remains hidden and does not differentiate between one realm and the next.

Now, the Holy One blessed is He desired a dwelling place in the lower worlds that would mirror the beginning of the process of emanation from the Essence of the Ein Sof. He therefore commanded that the Tabernacle (and similarly the Temple) be constructed in a manner that includes both makif and pnimi, surrounding and internal [igulim and yosher]:

The covers and boards that surrounded the Tabernacle mirror the surrounding lights that are a) beyond Atzilut, and b) those within Atzilut.

[There were two basic layers surrounding the Tabernacle: 1) the boards that made up its wallsand 2) the covers that were draped over the entire structure. Apparently, the Tzemach Tzedek is saying that the covers, the outer circle, correspond to the surrounding lights that are beyond Atzilut, whereas the boards, which formed the inner circle, correspond to the surrounding lights that are within Atzilut.]

The vessels, by contrast, mirror the internal light, which emanates from the column and provides actual revelation of divinity in every world. Thus we find that each of the vessels served as a vehicle for divine revelation:

The Ark: "I will set My meetings with you there, and I shall speak to you…from between the two Cherubim…" (Ex. 25:22)

The Altar: A fire descended from heaven [and consumed the offerings, a clear of demonstration of divine presence].

The Menorah: The Talmud (Shabbat 22b) calls it a "testimony for the entire world that the Divine presence rests amid Israel." [The Talmud explains that one of the lamps of the Menorah miraculously burned throughout the day.]

The Table: The show-bread miraculously remained hot [and fresh throughout the week]. The transcendent light is the one that provides the primary source of life for all beings...

The general concept of transcendent and internal light demands explanation. If revelation comes through the internal light, what need is there for the transcendent light? Why is it that Creation (indeed, any divine influx) takes place through both lights?

In Tikunei Zohar (ch. 2) it is written that Creation is described in two ways: 1) as the word of G‑d, i.e. "by G‑d's word were the heavens made" (Psalms 33:6), and 2) the desire of G‑d, i.e. "G‑d created all that He desired" (ibid. 135:6). The "word" of G‑d refers to the internal light, while the "desire" of G‑d refers to the transcendent light.

There it is also explained that the transcendent light is the one that provides the primary source of life for all beings. The difference between the two lights is that the transcendent remains concealed, while the internal is revealed. Furthermore, the transcendent treats each level equally, while the internal is subdivided and applied to the specific capacity of each realm.

Here we shall add for you a metaphor from "my flesh" [as in the verse, "from my flesh I perceive G‑d" (Job 19:26), man being a metaphor for the Divine], from the manifestation of the soul in the body, which also provides two different life forces: transcendent and internal.

The internal life force varies from one limb to another. Wisdom resides in the brain, emotion in the heart, etc. Now the wisdom that resides in the brain does so in a revealed manner - the nature and being of the wisdom is sensed by the brain. The brain is "filled" with the wisdom as a vessel fills with water. This is because the physical makeup of the brain is a suitable vessel for wisdom. And so it is with the other limbs and their particular abilities. This is the internal light, which the soul extends to the limbs, and which must be consistent with the "vessel", the particular limb.

The transcendent life force is the soul's desire and will. We observe that as soon as the soul wishes the hand or foot to move its desire is immediately fulfilled. This tells us that the soul's will is manifest in the foot, literally. Otherwise, there would be some delay between the soul's desire and the implementation. Indeed it is known that there are "arteries and veins" of the brain that spread throughout the body, and which do not contain blood. Their function is only to serve as vessels for the soul's desire so that it can rule over the body through them, to move the hand or leg. Yet the actual movement takes place through the internal life force, which is manifest in the blood and which grows stronger through the consumption of food and drink.

So the will of the soul exists throughout the body but in a concealed manner. The limb cannot sense it. It is not manifest in the manner of lights and suitable vessels and therefore does not differentiate between the limbs. The head and the foot are equal.

All of this is a metaphor for the two types of light that sustain the world: transcendent and manifest.

Just as the will of the soul controls the body through the internal life-force, so too the transcendent light creates the beings through the internal light.

This dual Divine light explains an apparent contradiction between two verses. In Isaiah (6:3) it is written that the earth is filled with His glory, i.e. radiance. But in Jeremiah (23:24) we read, "I fill heaven and earth", meaning G‑d Himself, not just His radiance. The first verse refers to the permeating light, the permeating light, while the second verse speaks of the transcendent light, for which heaven and earth are equal.

Even after the Temple was destroyed, it is still possible to draw forth the lights that were present in the Temple and its vessels. This is done through one's divine service, i.e. the verse "and I will reside in them" - not "in it", i.e., the Temple. The service of the inner heart is to unite with G‑d in a wondrous union…

The inner and outer hearts are the inner and outer altars. The outer heart is home to the animalistic drives of man, which must be elevated like the animals on the outer altar.

The inner heart is a place that is beyond such struggle. The service of the inner heart is to unite with G‑d in a wondrous union. Similarly, no animal is placed on the inner altar, only the incense.

The inner altar of the human Temple is the inner heart, the deeper dimension of human consciousness. The outer altar, or outer heart, is reserved for interaction with the physical aspects of existence, i.e. the animals that must be slaughtered and channeled for good. The outer altar, which stands outside in the courtyard, embraces the mundane and gives it meaning, i.e. raises the sparks; despite the sublimity of this experience it must only involve the outer heart. The inner altar stood in a place where the mundane did not exist; its incense offerings did not raise fallen sparks. The Hebrew word for incense, "ketoret", contains the word for "bond" [in Hebrew, "ketira"], for the inner altar intensified and deepened the natural human bond with the Divine (see Likutei Sichot, vol. 6, pp. 185-7). The Tzemach Tzedek also explains that the outer altar corresponds to malchut of Atzilut as it descends to the lower worlds of Beriya, Yetzira and Asiya. The inner altar corresponds to tiferet of Atzilut. (From The Rebbe's Chumash)

Drawing forth the transcendent light, the "covers", refers to the service of G‑d that is performed against one's will, contrary to the inclination of mind and heart. Just as the transcendent light remains hidden, so too in such service the motivation and spiritual experience is not apparent and G‑d is served despite their absence. This level is beyond the service performed with desire and comprehension and elicits the supernal will, which resided in the covers - the level beyond chochma and bina.

Adapted by Yosef Marcus from Derech Mitzvotecha.

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