Since there is but one “order of Hishtalshelut,” a question arises: Does its ultimate purpose lie in the higher worlds, where G-dliness is revealed to a greater degree, while the lower worlds serve only to emphasize the revelation found in those higher than them (since light is distinguishable only where darkness exists)? Or, on the contrary, does its purpose lie in the lower realms (but in order to create them, an order of Hishtalshelut is necessary, entailing the creation of the higher realms)?

Obviously, concealment of G-dliness is not an end in itself; thus, if we assume the second position, it follows that these lower realms were created so that the darkness pervading them be transformed to light.

The statement that “G-d desired an abode in the lower realms” shows the latter position to be the true one, and the “abode” is built by the revelation of His Presence in this lowest of worlds to a degree surpassing even that in the highest. This, in brief, is the subject of the following paragraphs in the text.

The purpose of the Hishtalshelut of the worlds, and of their descent from level to level, is not for the sake of the higher worlds,

וְהִנֵּה, תַּכְלִית הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת וִירִידָתָם מִמַּדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה – אֵינוֹ בִּשְׁבִיל עוֹלָמוֹת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים,

since for them, this constitutes a descent from the light of His Countenance.

הוֹאִיל וְלָהֶם יְרִידָה מֵאוֹר פָּנָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

The very word “world” (עוֹלָם) in Hebrew denotes concealment. Thus, even the highest worlds constitute, by their very existence, a descent from the pervading level of G-dliness that preceded their creation. It is illogical, then, to say that the revelation which these higher worlds represent is the purpose of the Hishtalshelut, since their revelation is actually concealment—and the ultimate purpose of creation lies in revelation, not concealment.

Rather, the purpose of Hishtalshelut is this lowest world.

אֶלָּא הַתַּכְלִית הוּא עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַתַּחְתּוֹן,

All the higher worlds are merely steps in the descent of the divine creative power; in each of them, the light is veiled yet further, until it is finally reduced to the minute degree of revelation that this physical world is capable of receiving.

Thus, the purpose of the Hishtalshelut is this world, for such was His will—that He find it pleasurable when the sitra achara is subjugated to holiness, and the darkness of kelipah is transformed into holy light,

שֶׁכָּךְ עָלָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, לִהְיוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כַּד אִתְכַּפְיָא סִטְרָא אָחֳרָא וְאִתְהַפֵּךְ חֲשׁוֹכָא לִנְהוֹרָא –

so that in the place of the darkness and sitra achara prevailing throughout this world, the Ein Sof-light of G-d will shine forth

שֶׁיָּאִיר אוֹר ה' אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּמְקוֹם הַחֹשֶׁךְ וְהַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא שֶׁל כָּל עוֹלָם הַזֶּה כּוּלּוֹ,

with greater strength and intensity, and with the superior quality of light that emerges from the darkness, i.e., when darkness is transformed into light, the resulting light is superior to ordinary light; it will thus shine with greater intensity than its radiance in the higher worlds.4

בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז וְיִתְרוֹן אוֹר מִן הַחֹשֶׁךְ, מֵהֶאָרָתוֹ בְּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים,

There, in the higher worlds, it shines through garments and [through] concealment of the Countenance (a concealment of the pnimiyut—i.e., the internal aspect—of the light), which conceal and screen the Ein Sof-light,

שֶׁמֵּאִיר שָׁם עַל יְדֵי לְבוּשִׁים וְהֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים, הַמַּסְתִּירִים וּמַעֲלִימִים אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא

so that [the worlds] do not dissolve out of existence.

שֶׁלֹּא יִבָּטְלוּ בִּמְצִיאוּת.

For were the Ein Sof-light not screened by garments, the worlds could not bear it and would dissolve. Thus, the revelation wrought by subjugation of the kelipot in this world is greater than that of the higher worlds; there, the Ein Sof-light is hidden, whereas here, in this world, it is revealed in all its strength.