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Kabbalah explains the mystical dynamics of the creation of male and female and their fall.

The Levels of the Creation of Man

The Levels of the Creation of Man

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The Levels of the Creation of Man
Kabbalah explains the mystical dynamics of the creation of male and female and their fall.

The following is a continuation of an earlier installment, For the World of the Chariot, which we suggest the reader review before proceeding.

One could ask: the [account of the] creation of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, as well as in the creation of mankind, is repeated. First, the Torah tells us that, “G‑d created the heavens and the earth,” referring to Zeir Anpin and Nukva. The [account of] the following seven days refers to the seven “extremities” of Zeir Anpin and Nukva, as is known.

Then, on the sixth day, the Torah tells us that “G‑d created the man in His image,” and further on that “G‑d formed man out of the dust of the earth,” interrupting these two accounts with [its description of what occurred on] the seventh day, as it is written, “And the heavens [and the earth] were completed….”

In the first account of Creation, the Torah mentions both male and female….

In the first account of Creation, the Torah mentions both male and female, while in the second account, in [G‑d’s] command [to create man], the female is not mentioned at all. If the command was to create only Adam, why was Eve created? We see that [even in the second account of Creation,] after the command, the female was created, for the Torah goes on to describe how “G‑d caused a deep sleep to descend upon the man…” and so forth.

We shall now explain this. From the primordial [world of] Adam Kadmon, the name Ab [the name Havayah spelled out to equal the numerical value of 72] was not manifest; only the name Sag [= 63] began to manifest via the Mouth, the Nose, etc. This is why [the Torah] begins with the letter beit, referring to the name Sag [being “second” to the name Ab].

When the name Sag issued forth [from Adam Kadmon], it was manifest as the vowels of the name Sag, this being the mystical meaning of the Primordial Kings [of Edom]. This is referred to by the phrase, “the heavens and the earth” which alludes to the Seven Kings that were broken. Since the letter hei alludes to the name Sag, the letter hei is prefixed [as the definite article] in “the heavens and the earth.

The definite particle [“et”] is used twice to allude to the Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Asiya within Atzilut after the rectification, for the root of all of them was here.

And since the primary fall occurred in Nukva, the Torah says that “the earth was chaos…,” focusing on her. Zeir Anpin is only alluded to [by the prefixed vav] in the word “and the earth was….”

The vessels that shattered descended to the level of the world of Beriya….

The following words are “chaos, emptiness, and darkness,” referring to the shattering [of the vessels]. Since there were many levels [of shattering], each [vessel shard] descending further than the next, the Torah [uses various terms to describe the cataclysm,] saying “chaos, emptiness, and darkness.”

The name Ban [= 52] was included here [within the name Sag]. [We see this] from the fact that from out of [the ruins of] this name Sag whose vessels were shattered was subsequently produced the rectification, via the name Mah [= 45], which was used to rectify reality.

In this way, the dross was removed from the name Sag. This is indicated by the fact that the word formed by the letters representing the number 63 [samech-gimel] form the root of the word for “dross” [in Hebrew, “sigim”], as in the verse, “Everyone is dross, completely foul….” (Psalms 53:4)

The result of this rectification was that the name Ban was separated out [of the original name Sag]. Thus, the name Ban was latent within the name Sag.

For this reason, “chaos” is mentioned here twice: [once explicitly, and a second time by allusion] since the initials of the words for “the earth was chaos and emptiness” in reverse spell the word for “and chaos”. One corresponds to the name Sag and one corresponds to the name Ban [latent within it].

It is known that the vessels that shattered descended to the level of the world of Beriya. This is indicated by the phrase, “and darkness was upon the face of the abyss”. The last letters of these words spell the word for “vessels”. There, at the beginning of Beriya, is the “face of the deep”, for from this point downward is water.

The phrase, “and the spirit of G‑d was hovering over the water” refers to the light that the vessels could not contain, and thus only “hovered” over [the level referred to by] “the water”. None of the light descended into the vessels, other than 288 sparks. This is indicated by the word for “hovered” [in Hebrew, “merachefet”], whose letters can be rearranged to be read “288 [sparks] died [i.e. descended].”

288 is the sum of 72 and 216.

'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ was made by Imma of Beriya to Abba of Beriya….'

After the shattering [of the vessels], the name Sag coupled with the name Ab above, and produced the New Mah, which issued from the supernal forehead [of Adam Kadmon], and it was the principle that rectified [reality, as stated above].

This is indicated by the phrase, “And G‑d said, ‘Let there be light,’” [“the light”] referring to [the light of] the name Mah that rectified [reality].

“…and there was light” refers to the actual rectification, which occurred during the seven days of Creation. [The Torah] therefore says at the end [of the Creation account,] for on it He rested from all His work,” for the “work” took place only in the world of Atzilut, inasmuch as all the other worlds - Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya - are nothing but the seal of Atzilut. It is therefore stated that “for on it He rested from all His work.”

Now, up to this point [in the first Creation account], man has not been mentioned. [All that has been mentioned is] heaven and earth, above at the level of the name Sag, and the ensuing days of the rectification, as stated. After the rectification of Atzilut was completed, from this point downward man is mentioned, referring to Zeir Anpin of Beriya, of Yetzira, and of Asiya.

When [the Torah] says in its account of the sixth day, “And G‑d created man in His image,” this refers to the “man” of Beriya. The preceding phrase, “Let us make man” refers to [the “man” of] Asiya, while the following phrase, [“And G‑d created man in His image”] refers to [the “man” of] Beriya.

In the first phrase, [referring to the “man” of Asiya], it is said, “in our image, after our likeness” while in the second phrase, [referring to the “man” of Beriya], it is said only “in His image.” This is because the words [of G‑d] issued from Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Atzilut, and He was only consulting [with the heavenly court] concerning the “man” of Asiya, who was destined to sin. As is mentioned in the Zohar, it was about this that [G‑d] consulted [the heavenly court when He made man, saying,] Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This statement was made by Imma of Beriya to Abba of Beriya, via the Clothing of Zeir Anpin and Nukva of Atzilut in them.


Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard." [This book is available for purchase at Kabbala Online Shop; proceeds help finance this website.

Reprinted with permission from Chabad of California. Copyright 2004 by Chabad of California, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, without permission, in writing, from Chabad of California, Inc.

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Eloki Rabbi Yitzchak, the G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Eloki [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, writer, editor and anthologist, living in Jerusalem. He has recently produced two monumental works: "Apples from the Orchard: Arizal on the Weekly Torah" and a Chumash translation with commentary based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Kehot).
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