אבל לגבי הקב״ה, מדרגת החכמה שהיא תחלת מחשבה וראשיתה, היא סוף מעשה אצלו

In regard to the Holy One, blessed be He, however, the level of wisdom — which [in all created beings] is the beginning of thought and its genesis — is to Him the final stage of action;

דהיינו שנחשבת כאילו היא בחינת ומדרגת עשייה לגבי הקב״ה

i.e., in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He, [wisdom] is considered as if it were the quality and level of action,

כדכתיב: כולם בחכמה עשית

as it is written,1 “You have made them all with wisdom.”

At first glance, it would seem more appropriate for the verse to have said something such as “You have ‘intellected’ them all.” Why instead does it state, “You have made...,” when speaking of wisdom?

והיינו לומר, שכערך החיות שבעשיה גופנית וגשמיית לערך חיות החכמה

That is to say that [wisdom relative to Him] is as the quality of the life-force in physical and material action is in relation to the quality of the life-force of wisdom,

שהיא ראשית ומקור החיות באדם וכל הברואים גשמיים

[wisdom being] the beginning and source of the life-force in man and all the physical creatures.

I.e., the life-force of physicality is incomparably lower than wisdom, which is the source of all life-force.

שהוא כאין לגבי חיות שבאותיות הדבור, שהוא כאין לגבי חיות שבאותיות המחשבה

[For the life-force of physicality] is as nothing in comparison with the life-force in the letters of speech, which [in turn] is as nothing compared to the life-force in the letters of thought,

שהוא כאין לגבי חיות ומעלת המדות שמהן נמשכה מחשבה זו

which [in turn] is as nothing in comparison to the life-force and level of the emotive attributes from which this thought is derived,

For, as explained earlier, all letters of thought emanate from some emotion which brings them into being, so that the individual concerned should think these particular letters. Clearly, the life-force of these letters of thought bears no comparison to the life-force of the emotions from whence these letters emanate.

שהוא כאין לגבי חיות ומעלת ומדרגת החכמה בינה ודעת, מקור המדות

which [in turn] is as nothing in comparison to the life-force and level and degree of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, the source of the emotive attributes.

Thus, from the level of action to the lofty level of wisdom in the World of Atzilut there are but five levels, each of which is of no account in comparison to the level above it. Clearly, then, the lowest level of action is surely of absolutely no account in comparison to the highest level, which is the level of wisdom in the World of Atzilut. And just as action is infinitely distant from the wisdom of Atzilut,

כן ממש ערך מדרגת ומעלת החכמה, שהיא ראשית ומקור החיות שבכל העולמות

Exactly so is the quality and level of wisdom, the beginning and source of the life-force in all the worlds,

For we are speaking here of the Sefirah of Chochmah of the World of Atzilut, which is the source of the entire World of Atzilut, the highest of all the worlds. As such it is also the source of all the worlds below it. Now this level of wisdom is as nothing —

לגבי הקב״ה בכבודו ובעצמו

in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He, in His Glory and Essence,

המרומם והמתנשא ריבוא רבבות מדרגות רוממות יותר מרוממות מדרגת החכמה על בחינת חיות שבעשיה

Who is elevated and exalted by myriads of degrees of elevation more than the quality of wisdom is elevated over the quality of the life-force in action,

שהיא רוממות חמש מדרגות לבד, שהן מדרגות בחינות עשיה ודבור ומחשבה ומדות ושכל

for this is an elevation of only five degrees, namely, the levels of action, speech, thought, the emotive attributes, and intellect.

אבל הקב״ה רם ומתנשא ממדרגת החכמה רבבות מדרגות כאלו עד אין קץ

The Holy One, blessed be He, however, is “high and exalted” above the level of wisdom by infinite myriads of such degrees.

This being so, why do we compare the distance of wisdom from G‑d to the distance of action from wisdom, when in actuality wisdom is infinitely more distant from Him?