But inasmuch as it is within the power of created beings to comprehend only the descent from the level of wisdom, which is their beginning, to the level of action, which is the lowliest of levels,

רַק מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין בַּנִּבְרָאִים כֹּחַ לְהַשִּׂיג רַק הַהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת מִמַּדְרֵגַת חָכְמָה, שֶׁהִיא רֵאשִׁיתָם, לְמַדְרֵגַת עֲשִׂיָּה הַשְּׁפֵלָה,

therefore, we say that in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He, the level of wisdom is considered exactly as the level of action.

לְכָךְ אָנוּ אוֹמְרִים, שֶׁלְּגַבֵּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, נֶחְשֶׁבֶת מַדְרֵגַת הַחָכְמָה כְּמַדְרֵגַת עֲשִׂיָּה מַמָּשׁ,

We use this example simply because there is no greater descent in the realm of human experience than the descent from wisdom to action.

That is to say: [G-d] is “high and exalted” and very greatly elevated above the level of wisdom,

דְּהַיְינוּ לוֹמַר, שֶׁהוּא רָם וְנִשָּׂא וְנַעֲלֶה עִילּוּי רַב מְאֹד מְאֹד מִמַּדְרֵגַת הַחָכְמָה.

and it is not at all appropriate to ascribe to Him anything that pertains to wisdom, even in a very lofty and sublime form, i.e., even if by doing so, we mean to express how He transcends wisdom;

וְלֹא שַׁיָּיךְ כְּלָל לְיַיחֵס אֶצְלוֹ שׁוּם עִנְיָן הַמִּתְיַיחֵס לְחָכְמָה, אֲפִילוּ בְּדֶרֶךְ מַעֲלָה וְעִילּוּי רַב,

for example, to say of Him that it is beyond the capacity of any higher or lower creature to comprehend His wisdom or His Essence.

כְּגוֹן לוֹמַר עָלָיו שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְשׁוּם נִבְרָא עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים לְהַשִּׂיג חָכְמָתוֹ אוֹ מַהוּתוֹ,

Even this negative reference to wisdom is inappropriate—

For comprehension pertains and applies to a matter of wisdom and intellect, about which one can say that it can or cannot be understood because of the profundity of the concept.

כִּי עִנְיַן הַהַשָּׂגָה מִתְיַיחֵס וְנוֹפֵל עַל דְּבַר חָכְמָה וָשֵׂכֶל, לוֹמַר שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לְהַשִּׂיגוֹ, אוֹ אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַשִּׂיגוֹ מִפְּנֵי עוֹמֶק הַמּוּשָּׂג;

However, concerning the Holy One, blessed be He, Who transcends intellect and wisdom, it is not at all appropriate to say that one cannot comprehend Him because of the profundity of the concept,

אֲבָל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִן הַשֵּׂכֶל וְהַחָכְמָה – לֹא שַׁיָּיךְ כְּלָל לוֹמַר בּוֹ שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַשִּׂיגוֹ מִפְּנֵי עוֹמֶק הַמּוּשָּׂג,

for He is not within the realm of comprehension at all.

כִּי אֵינוֹ בִּבְחִינַת הַשָּׂגָה כְּלָל,

He who states that it is impossible to comprehend Him is like one who says of some lofty and profound concept that it cannot be touched with their hands because of the depth of the concept.

וְהָאוֹמֵר עָלָיו שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַשִּׂיגוֹ – הוּא כְּאוֹמֵר עַל אֵיזוֹ חָכְמָה רָמָה וַעֲמוּקָּה, שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְמַשְּׁשָׁהּ בְּיָדַיִם מִפְּנֵי עוֹמֶק הַמּוּשָּׂג,

Whoever hears [this] will mock him because the sense of touch refers and applies only to physical objects, which may be grasped by the hands.

שֶׁכָּל הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ יִצְחַק לוֹ, לְפִי שֶׁחוּשׁ הַמִּישּׁוּשׁ אֵינוֹ מִתְיַיחֵס וְנוֹפֵל אֶלָּא עַל עֲשִׂיָּיה גַשְׁמִית הַנִּתְפֶּסֶת בְּיָדַיִם,

Exactly so, the level of intellect and comprehension in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He, is considered as actual, physical action.

וְכָכָה מַמָּשׁ, נֶחְשֶׁבֶת לְגַבֵּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מַדְרֵגַת הַשֵּׂכֶל וְהַהַשָּׂגָה כַּעֲשִׂיָּיה גַשְׁמִית מַמָּשׁ,

Even the comprehension of the [superior and spiritual] Intelligences in the higher worlds, and even the level of supernal wisdom of the World of Atzilut, which gives life to them all [is considered so in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He],

וַאֲפִילוּ הַשָּׂגַת שְׂכָלִים שֶׁבְּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים, וַאֲפִילוּ מַדְרֵגַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה הַמְחַיָּה אֶת כּוּלָּם,

as it is written, “You have made them all with wisdom.”2

כְּדִכְתִיב: "כּוּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ".

All of creation is rooted in the wisdom of Atzilut. Nevertheless, even the supernal wisdom of Atzilut is considered as action in relation to G-d, for G-d transcends it infinitely. It is thus impossible to say that G-d can or cannot be apprehended through intellect, inasmuch as intellect and wisdom are not at all the means by which G-d can be grasped.

As for the Holy One, blessed be He, being called “Wise” in Scripture, and our Sages, of blessed memory, have also referred to Him with epithets denoting the quality and level of wisdom,

וּמַה שֶּׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא נִקְרָא "חָכָם" בַּכָּתוּב, וְגַם חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה כִּינּוּ לוֹ מַדְרֵגַת וּמַעֲלַת הַחָכְמָה,

this is because He is the source of wisdom, for from Him issues and emanates the essence of the level of supernal wisdom, which is in the World of Atzilut.

הַיְינוּ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹר הַחָכְמָה, שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ נִמְשָׁךְ וְנֶאֱצָל מַהוּת מַדְרֵגַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה שֶׁבְּעוֹלַם הָאֲצִילוּת.

Likewise, [He is called] Merciful and Kind, even though He utterly transcends mercy and kindness, because He is the source of mercy and kindness,

וְכֵן "רַחוּם" וְ"חָסִיד", עַל שֵׁם שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹר הָרַחֲמִים וְהַחֲסָדִים.

and likewise, regarding the other emotive attributes: G-d is referred to by the names of the other attributes because He is their source,

וְכֵן שְׁאָר הַמִּדּוֹת,

for they all proceed and emanate from Him.

שֶׁכּוּלָּן נִמְשְׁכוּ וְנֶאֶצְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

The manner and nature of the flow and emanation—how and what—i.e., how the intellectual and emotive attributes emanate from the Ein Sof, which totally transcends them, and exactly what they are, for after they have emanated from Him, they are wholly united with Him, is known to the savants.3

וְדֶרֶךְ וְעִנְיַן הַהַמְשָׁכָה וְהָאֲצִילוּת אֵיךְ וּמָה, יָדוּעַ לַמַּשְׂכִּילִים