והנה, פרטיות הצמצומים איך ומה, אין כאן מקום ביאורם

Now, as for the intricate details of the “contractions”, how they achieve their effect and what they actually are, — this is not the place for their explanation.

אך דרך כלל הן הם בחינת הסתר והעלם המשכת האור והחיות

But in general they are something in the nature of an obscuring and concealment of the flow of light and vitality,

שלא יאיר ויומשך לתחתונים בבחינת גילוי, להתלבש ולהשפיע בהן ולהחיותם להיות יש מאין

so that [the light and vitality] should illumine and reach the lower creatures in a revealed manner, pervading them and acting in them and animating them in such a way that they exist ex nihilo

כי אם מעט מזעיר אור וחיות, בכדי שיהיו בבחינת גבול ותכלית

in only an extremely minute measure, so that they be in a state of finitude and limitation.

Were their life-force to be revealed within them they would be infinite. “Contraction” ensures that the light and vitality which is their life-force remains concealed from them; all that is revealed is but a minute degree of light and vitality.

שהיא הארה מועטת מאד, וממש כלא חשיבי לגבי בחינת הארה בלי גבול ותכלית, ואין ביניהם ערך ויחס כלל

This light and vitality that is revealed within them after the “contraction” constitutes an infinitesimal illumination, and is truly considered as naught when compared with the quality of the limitless and infinite illumination, and there is no reference or relationship between them,

I.e., they are not quantitatively different, not even immensely different in quantity, but of a wholly different and incomparable quality.

כנודע פירוש מלת ערך במספרים, שאחד במספר יש לו ערך לגבי מספר אלף אלפים, שהוא חלק אחד מני אלף אלפים

as the term “reference” is understood in number values, where the number one has a relevancy to the number one million, for it is a one-millionth part of it;

The sum of one million is merely the sum of one million ones; subtract but one and the million ceases to exist — a clear demonstration of the relation that subsists between one and a million.

אבל לגבי דבר שהוא בבחינת בלי גבול ומספר כלל, אין כנגדו שום ערך במספרים

but as regards a thing which transcends finitude and numeration, there is no number — however great — that can be relative to it,

שאפילו אלף אלפי אלפים ורבוא רבבות אינן אפילו כערך מספר אחד לגבי אלף אלפי אלפים ורבוא רבבות

for a billion and a trillion1 when compared to infinity do not even attain the relevancy of the value of one in comparison with a billion or a trillion,

אלא כלא ממש חשיבי

For the sum of one retains some degree of relevance even when compared to a trillion — it is, in fact, one trillionth of it — while even a sum as large a trillion has no relevance at all when compared to the realm of the infinite, but is veritably accounted as nothing.