Now we will explain these five levels. The first level, which is the most elevated zivug of them all, is that of Israel with Rachel. Unlike the other zivugim, it has two levels. Within the true yesod of Israel which joins with Rachel, there are five chasadim [plural for chesed] and five gevurot that flow from the mochin of Imma, and chasadim and gevurot from the mochin of Abba. For the yesod of Abba is [clothed] within Zeir Anpin emanating light and reaching as far down as the end of the yesod of Zeir Anpin. (Eitz Chaim Shaar Abba)

Hence, there are ten gevurot, five from Abba and five from Imma, and they represent the level of the Ten Martyrs1, whose souls were enclothed within these drops. The five gevurot of Abba [expressed as]: Rebbe Akiva, Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, Rebbe Yeshavev HaSofer, Rebbe Yishmael ben Elisha Kohen Gadol [the high priest], and Rebbe Yehudah ben Babba. It would seem to me that this is the actual order, since Rebbe Akiva was the chesed within gevurot, Rebbe Shimon ben Gamliel was the gevurot of the gevurot, etc.

It should not surprise you that Rebbe Akiva’s soul was from the source of Cain which was Imma, as mentioned elsewhere, [in a previous chapter] and that the clothing of his soul was from Abba. This is not problematic, for the reason that we mentioned elsewhere , [in a previous chapter] when discussing how the chasadim of Imma can clothe the yesod of Abba and be called the gevurot of Abba. Furthermore, within yesod everything becomes intermingled, which is why Joseph could be close to all the tribes, since he was from the level of yesod.

The rest of the clothing of the souls were for the five remaining martyrs, from the five gevurot of Imma. Since the ten martyrs were clothed in the level of gevurot and dinim [judgments], they needed to be killed because the kelipot adhere strongest to gevurot, and especially when from wasted seed as great as these.

The ten chasadim of Abba and Imma were the ten garments for the souls of the ten students of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), mentioned in the holy Idra Rabba and Sefer HaTikunin. (Book of Rectifications). They were his son Rebbe Eliezer, Rebbe Abba, Rebbe Yehudah, Rebbe Yitzchak, etc.

[Shmuel (son of Rabbi Chayim Vital) says: This requires investigation since other than the Rashbi himself, there were only nine students as mentioned at the beginning of Idra Rabba : "It was taught that the colleagues of Rebbe Shimon were before him, and they were: Rebbe Eliezer his son, Rebbe Abba, Rebbe Yehudah, Rebbe Yosi bar Ya’akov, Rebbe Yitzchak, Rebbe Chizkiah bar Rav, Rebbe Chiya, Rebbe Yosi, Rebbe Yaysa, etc." (Zohar III Naso 127b) Furthermore, at the end of the Idra (Ibid. 144b), it says, "Rebbe Shimon told them, 'We are the seven eyes of God, as it says, ‘these seven... the eyes of God(Zechariah 4:10)." Rebbe Abba said, "We are six candles who get their light from the seventh - you are the seventh of them all," and that was after three of them had already died, which clearly indicates that there were only nine. If you want to say that Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai was the tenth, it can’t be, since the Rashbi himself was on the level of yesod and not included in the ten chasadim. Perhaps we can say that there were eight when Rebbe Yaysa the Small joined them... And there is proof that Rebbe Yaysa completed the number of ten aside from the Rashbi.]

Since they were on the level of chasadim, they did not have to be killed because the kelipot were not strongly connected to them. However, the three that died, mentioned in the holy Idra Rabba, Rebbe Yosi bar Ya’akov, Rebbe Chizkiah, and Rebbe Yaysa, were on the level of the three revealed chasadim of Imma2 that emanated light into the tiferet, netzach, and hod of Zeir Anpin. Thus, they ascended above to give off light to Zeir Anpin, as we know.

When tzadikim die, they awaken M"N [returning light], from below to above. This activates the partzufim to unite.

"Ten entered [the barn to learn with Rabbi Shimon] – [only] seven left." (Zohar III Idra Rabba) Their souls were elevated and powerfully connected above through listening to Rabbi Shimon. They departed in an intense state of rapture, causing a great unification above. This was the ultimate tikun of their souls...

Rashbi was the level of yesod from which the ten drops came out, and he therefore had to teach them Torah and rectify them. However, the ten martyrs from the gevurot did not have a specific teacher for all of them, for the reason explained regarding the secret of tefilin according to the opinion of Rabeinu Tam, on the verse: (Psalms 32:10) "One who trusts in G‑d will be surrounded by chesed". (Olot Tamid pg.81)

The reason discussed there is that, with respect to the chasadim of Abba, they do not stand in the yesod of Abba, since it is a very narrow place. Therefore, they go out and surround yesod from without, which means that the chasadim of Abba stand within yesod of Imma and clothe the yesod of Abba. Unlike the gevurot, which lack unification, whether in yesod of Abba or Imma. Therefore, it was not possible to establish one teacher for all of them, for there is no one yesod unique to all of them who could teach them.

Yesod is the point that manifests the light of a partzuf outside and so expresses through a teacher who gives his knowledge.

'Ahavah' [love] comes from the root 'yahaiv' - to give. It is a motion of uniting in oneness. For this reason, chasadim work together in a unified way and are devoted to a single yesod, unlike gevurot whose nature is to break apart. (Likutei Torah Baal HaTanya)

From what my teacher once answered, I could see that this is not really the reason. For I once asked him regarding this, suggesting that two teachers could have existed corresponding to the two yesodot, but he wouldn’t answer me - seemingly because he did not want to reveal everything regarding this matter, though I don’t know why.3

Since the ten students of Rashbi were from the level of the chasadim and an excellent zivug, Israel with Rachel, all the secrets of Torah could be revealed to them without the need for any suffering. This will not be the case again until the generation of Moshiach, as mentioned in the Zohar in many places. (Zohar II 149a, 156a)

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]