A comparison is made between the term or (“light”) used by the kabbalists and the term shefa (“influence”) used by Jewish philosophers. Just as on the physical plane, the emanation of light does not involve any change in the source of light, so too, Above, G‑d does not undergo change because of the emanation of His light.

That light is simple and infinite. Although it undergoes change as it enclothes itself in the vessels, the change is merely external and affects only the manifestation of the light but not the light itself. Unlike a luminary on the physical plane which has no choice but to radiate, G‑d’s light is “willful” and dependent on His desire.


– V –

אַךְ עֲדַיִן צָרִיךְ הָעִנְיָן בֵּאוּר,

Nevertheless, explanation is still required:

One of the foundations for the Tzemach Tzedek’s explanations in the previous section is that the keilim of Atzilus are G‑dliness, and, hence, G‑d’s infinite light can be enclothed in them. Here, he questions that axiom.

כִּי יֵשׁ לְהָבִין עִנְיַן הַכֵּלִים הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל

It is necessary to understand the nature of the keilim:

אֵיךְ יִתָּכֵן שֶׁהֵם אֱלֹקוּת מַמָּשׁ וְשֶׁאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵינָן בְּעֶרֶךְ מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

How can it be said that they are G‑dliness when they are not comparable to His Being and His Essence?

The keilim are limited, defined entities – Chochmah is Chochmah, Chesed is Chesed, i.e., they are entities with a specific definition – while G‑d is infinite and undefinable.

עַד שֶׁכַּאֲשֶׁר נַעֲרִיךְ הַמַּהוּת שֶׁלָּהֶם לְגַבֵּי מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

Indeed, when their substance is compared to His Being and Essence,

הוּא מַמָּשׁ כְּיַחַס הָעֲשִׂיָּה גוּפָנִית הַנִּבְרָא מֵאַיִן לְיֵשׁ אֶצְלוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

the relationship to Him is actually the same as that of the physical deed of a created being that was brought into existence from nothingness.

Obviously, there is a difference between physical existence and the keilim of Atzilus, but that difference applies when comparing one to the other. When they are viewed in relation to G‑d,

שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם רְחוֹקִים מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בְּהַשְׁוָאָה אַחַת מַמָּשׁ,

both, the sublime keilim and a physical entity, are equally distant from Him.

For when compared to His transcendence, all limited entities are the same. To quote a parallel in mathematics, when compared to infinity, one and a trillion produce the same value.

וְאִם כֵּן אֵיךְ יִתָּכֵן שֶׁיִּהְיוּ בְּחִינַת אֱלֹקוּת מַמָּשׁ,

If so, how can it be said that the keilim are actual G‑dliness?

שֶׁזֶּה דָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְיַשֵּׁב לִכְאוֹרָה בְּשֵׂכֶל הָאָדָם,

Seemingly, this is something that cannot be accepted by a person’s thought.

גַּם צָרִיךְ לְהָבִין עוֹד עִנְיָן אֶחָד,

There is also another concept that requires explanation.

וְהוּא כִּי הִתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל שֶׁהֵם נִקְרָאִים כֵּלִים

It was explained above that these entities are called keilim

As mentioned above, the term k’li has many meanings, among them, “vessel/container” and “utensil.” Although the former meaning is often the more commonly used in Chassidus, the emphasis here is being placed on the second.

וְהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ פּוֹעֵל עַל יָדָן

and that He performs activities using them as mediums, through which He brings existence into being and controls it.

עַל יְדֵי הַחֶסֶד הוּא מִתְחַסֵּד

Through Chessed,He shows His generosity.

וְעַל יְדֵי הַגְּבוּרָה הוּא מִתְגַּבֵּר

Through Gevurah,He shows His might,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב רִיבָה רִיבֵנוּ כִּי אֵל גּוֹאֵל חָזָק אָתָּה כוּ'

as we say:1 “Wage our battle… because You, G‑d, are a mighty Redeemer.”

וְסִבַּת כָּל שִׁנּוּיֵי הַהַשְׁפָּעוֹת בָּא מֵחֲמַת הַכֵּלִים

The difference between the variations of influence comes from the keilim,

שֶׁהֵם כֵּלִים מִכֵּלִים שׁוֹנִים

because they are of different natures.

מִן הַחֶסֶד יֻמְשְׁכוּ הַמַּיִם וְהָאוֹר וְכַדּוֹמֶה

Thus, from Chessed,water, light, and the like will be drawn down,

וְכֵן בַּעֲשָׂבִים וּפֵרוֹת הַמְּתוּקִים

as will all the sweet grasses and fruits.

וּמִן הַגְּבוּרוֹת יֻמְשְׁכוּ הָרָקִיעַ וּבַעֲשָׂבִים וּפֵרוֹת חֲמוּצִים וּמָרִים

And from the Gevuros will be drawn down the firmament and the sour and bitter-tasting grasses and fruits.

וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּכָל הַמִּדּוֹת,

Similar concepts apply with regard to all the other emotional qualities.

וַהֲרֵי מוּבָן לְמַשְׂכִּיל הֵיטֵב

It is thus thoroughly understandable to a wise man

וּמְבֹאָר גַּם כֵּן לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק ד'

and also explained above in ch. 4,

שֶׁאֵין הַכַּוָּנָה שֶׁהַכֵּלִים פּוֹעֲלִים בְּעַצְמָן חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

that the intent is not that the keilim do not act independently, Heaven forbid,

If the keilim would act independently, that would make them worthy of being designated as deities.

כְּפִי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה מִשִּׁטְחִיּוּת לְשׁוֹן מְקֻבָּל אֶחָד הֱבִיאוֹ הָרְמַ"ק שָׁם פֶּרֶק א'

as might be conceived from a superficial reading of the wording used by a kabbalist quoted by Ramak,Pardes Rimonim, Shaar 4, ch. 1.


He employs the following analogy:

לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁצִּוָּה לְאֶחָד מֵעֲבָדָיו

A king commanded one of his servants

כְּשֶׁתִּרְאֶה אִישׁ מָהִיר בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ הַעֲנֵיק תַּעֲנִיק לוֹ מִגָּרְנְךָ וּמִיִּקְבֶךָ

that when he sees a person who is proficient in his craft, he should give him presents of grain and wine.2

וּלְאֶחָד צִוָּה כְּשֶׁתִּרְאֶה אִישׁ עָצֵל הַכֵּה תַכֶּה אוֹתוֹ

To another, he commanded that when he sees a lazy person, he should beat him.3

וְהִנֵּה הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינוֹ מֵרֵעַ וְאֵינוֹ מֵטִיב לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם

Thus, the analogy continues, the king is not harming or benefiting anyone with his own hand,

אֶלָּא הַכֹּל בְּמִצְוָתוֹ

and yet everything takes place through his commandments.

כָּךְ הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ מַשְׁפִּיעַ אֶל הַמִּדּוֹת לִפְעוֹל פְּעֻלָּתָם

Similarly, in the analogue, G‑d conveys influence to the emotional attributes of Atzilus to carry out their activities, i.e., through Chessed He rewards, and through Gevurah He punishes,

וְהוּא אֵינוֹ מְשַׁנֶּה אֶת פְּעֻלּוֹתָיו

but He does not change His activities.

עַד כַּאן לְשׁוֹנוֹ,

This concludes his words.

וְכָתַב עָלָיו הָרְמַ"ק שָׁם פֶּרֶק ג'

Ramak objected to this explanation, stating (ibid.,ch. 3) that:

לְפִי דַעְתּוֹ שֶׁהַשָּׂכָר וְהָעֹנֶשׁ נִמְשָׁךְ מֵהַמִּדּוֹת

According to this approach, reward and punishment are drawn down from the emotional attributes independently,4

כִּי בֵּאלֹקוּת לֹא יִצְדַּק לֹא דִין וְלֹא רַחֲמִים כוּ'

because it is not appropriate to ascribe either judgment or mercy to G‑d.

The kabbalist mentioned sought to remove G‑d from being the active agent for reward and punishment, for doing so would imply change on His part. Nevertheless, such a hypothesis is untenable for the reasons stated by Ramak.

אִם כֵּן נִמְצָא לְפִי זֶה שֶׁהַמִּדּוֹת הֵם הַמַּשְׂכִּירוֹת וּמַעֲנִישׁוֹת לְפִי טִבְעָם שֶׁהִטְבִּיעַ בָּהֶם הַמַּאֲצִיל

If so, the emotional attributes are dispensing reward and punishment according to the nature with which the Source of Emanation implanted in them.

אִם כֵּן לְפִי דַעַת זֶה עָזַב ה' אֶת הָאָרֶץ בְּיַד הַמִּדּוֹת וְכוּ'

Accordingly, it would appear according to this approach that G‑d abandoned the earth to the emotional attributes….

וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ הֵם סְתִירַת הָאֱמוּנָה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם וְלֹא קִיּוּמָהּ

This, Heaven forbid, is a contradiction to our faith and does not support it. For this would imply that the world is separate from G‑d.

וּבָרוּר לָנוּ כִּי הַמְּקֻבָּל הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל מִן הַשְּׁקוּעִים בֶּאֱמוּנָה

It is evident to us that this kabbalist is one who is permeated by faith,

כִּי נוֹדַע אֶל כָּל רוֹאֵי סְפָרָיו חֲסִידוּתוֹ וְיָשְׁרוֹ כוּ'

for all those who peruse his books are aware of his piety and upright character….

אֶלָּא שֶׁקָּצְרוּ יַד לְשׁוֹנוֹ בְּהַעְתָּקָתוֹ אֶל הַקֻּלְמוֹס

It is only that he did not have the proper wording to express the idea he desired to communicate when writing.

Ramak is pointing to one of the fundamental difficulties in the works of Jewish thinkers who sought to explain spiritual concepts in logical terms. Man’s thought is limited and he struggles when trying to contemplate, understand, and explain an infinite and transcendent G‑d. Certainly, from the standpoint of faith, he believes without reservation. Nevertheless, since G‑d is not confined to the limits of logic, expressing the axioms of faith in rational terms is challenging.

עַד כַּאן לְשׁוֹנוֹ,

This concludes his words.

אֶלָּא וַדַּאי פֵּרוּשׁ הָעִנְיָן שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ פּוֹעֵל הַכֹּל עַל יְדֵי הַכֵּלִים הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל

Instead, the idea is that G‑d brings about all the activities through the medium of the keilim,as mentioned above.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרְמַ"ק שָׁם פֶּרֶק ד'

As Ramak writes in ch. 4 of that source,

שֶׁהַסְּפִירוֹת הֵם עַצְמוּת וְכֵלִים

the Sefiros are comprised of essential light and keilim.

וְאוֹר הָעַצְמוּת הַפָּשׁוּט מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּכֵּלִים הַלָּלוּ וּפוֹעֵל עַל יָדָן

The simple essential light enclothes itself in these keilim and brings about activity through them.

וְנִמְצָא הַפְּעֻלָּה הִיא בֶּאֱמֶת מֵחֲמַת הָעַצְמוּת

Thus, the activities in truth come about because of the essential light,

וְלוֹ מִתְיַחֶסֶת

and can therefore be ascribed to Him.

רַק שֶׁסִּבַּת הַגְבָּלַת הַפְּעֻלָּה וְסִבַּת הַהִשְׁתַּנּוּת בָּא מֵחֲמַת הַכְּלִי

It is only that the reason for the limitations of the activity and the reason for the variation between one activity and another are a result of the keilim that are involved

וְלָהּ מִתְיַחֵס

and can be ascribed to them.

וְהֵבִיא מָשָׁל לְזֶה מֵחַיּוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַמִּתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בְּאֵיבְרֵי הַגּוּף

Ramak further explains this concept by bringing an analogy from the life-energy of the soul that enclothes itself in the limbs of the body.

שֶׁהִיא גַם כֵּן פְּשׁוּטָה בְּעֶרֶךְ הַרְכָּבַת הַגּוּף

This life-energy is simple when compared to the body, which is a composite of different limbs and organs.

וְהִנֵּה הַחַיּוּת הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט בָּעַיִן נַעֲשָׂה בּוֹ תְּמוּנַת כֹּחַ הָרְאִיָּה

The life-energy manifest in the eye becomes expressed in the power of sight

וּבַחַיּוּת שֶׁבָּרֶגֶל נַעֲשָׂה תְּמוּנַת כֹּחַ הַהִלּוּךְ

and the life-energy manifest in the foot becomes expressed in the power of walking,

וְאָז פְּעֻלָּתָם שׁוֹנוֹת

and therefore, these organs carry out different activities,

זֶה לִרְאוֹת וְזֶה לַהֲלוֹךְ

with one, a person sees, and with the other, he walks.

וְסִבַּת הַשִּׁנּוּי בָּא מֵחֲמַת שִׁנּוּיֵי הָאֵיבָרִים הָעַיִן מֵהָרֶגֶל

The reason for this difference stems from the difference in the limbs; the eye being different from the foot.

וְהַפְּעֻלָּה בָּאָה בַּאֲמִתַּת מְאוֹר הַנֶּפֶשׁ שֶׁבָּהֶם,

The activity, however, comes from the true light of the soul manifest in them.

Similarly, in the analogue, the effects produced by the keilim are different, but the source for all the different types of activity is G‑d’s light.

וְאָמַר עוֹד שָׁם שֶׁעִם הֱיוֹת שֶׁכְּשֶׁהָעַצְמוּת מְלֻבָּשׁ בַּכְּלִי הֲרֵי נַעֲשָׂה בּוֹ תְּמוּנָה

In that source, Ramak also states that although when the essential light is enclothed in the k’li, it takes on a form,

עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל כְּמוֹ הַתְּמוּנָה שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה בְּחַיּוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַמְלֻבָּשׁ בָּעַיִן לִהְיוֹת כֹּחַ הָרְאִיָּה,

for example, the form taken on by the life-energy of the soul enclothed in the eye to enable the power of sight,

שֶׁמֻּבְדָּל אָז מִן הַתְּמוּנָה שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית בַּכֹּחַ שֶׁבָּרֶגֶל שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה בּוֹ תְּמוּנַת כֹּחַ הַהִלּוּךְ,

which is distinct from the form taken on by the life-energy enclothed in the foot to enable the power of walking.

Ramak’s analogy can be explained as follows: Even though the life-energy of the soul is simple, in order to enclothe itself in a particular limb or organ, it must adapt itself somewhat to fit the qualities of that limb or organ. Similarly, the Divine light Above adapts itself somewhat in order to enclothe itself in each individual Sefirah. Thus, the Divine light appears to change. Nevertheless, as the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain, this change does not affect the essence of G‑d’s light. Moreover, even the external dimensions of His light are not truly changed.

וְאִם כֵּן לְפִי זֶה הַדְרָא קֻשְׁיָא לְדוּכְתָּא

If so, the difficulty returns,

שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּעַצְמוּתוֹ שִׁנּוּי וְהִתְפַּעֲלוּת חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

for it appears that there is change and activity within His essential light, Heaven forbid.

I.e., even though the above explanation clarifies how G‑d can be the source of distinct and even opposite activities, still, the very fact that He is the source of any activity presents a conceptual difficulty, for generating any activity implies change.

וְלָזֶה אָמַר שֶׁהַשִּׁנּוּי הַזֶּה בָּהֶם אֵינוֹ אֲמִתִּי

To resolve this, Ramak explains that the change in the light is not genuine, i.e., there is no permanent, lasting change in the light itself.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא לְעִנְיַן הַפְּעֻלָּה בִּלְבָד

It only affects the activity,

וְכִמְשַׁל מַיִם שֶׁמִּשְׁתַּנִּים לְפִי גְוָן הַכְּלִי

like the analogy of water whose color changes according to the color of the container in which it is held.

שֶׁאֵין הַשִּׁנּוּי בָּהֶם אֲמִתִּי

The change of color is not genuine;

רַק לְמַרְאֵה הָעַיִן

it just involves its immediate appearance,

שֶׁכְּשֶׁיֵּצְאוּ מִן הַכֵּלִים חוֹזְרִים לְמַרְאִיתָם כוּ'

as evident from the fact that after the water leaves the container, it returns to its natural appearance.

וְאָמַר עוֹד שֶׁגַּם הַשִּׁנּוּי הַזֶּה גַּם שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֲמִתִּי

Ramak also states there that not only is this change not genuine,

אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בְּעַצְמוּת הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט בַּכֵּלִים

it is also limited in scope, involving only the essential light that extends into the keilim.

אֲבָל מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ מַמָּשׁ אֵין בּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ שִׁנּוּי הַזֶּה

His actual Being and Essence does not even change in this manner.

אֶלָּא הוּא לְבַדּוֹ

Instead, He exists uniquely unto Himself

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא קֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם,

just as He did before the creation of the world.

וְזֶהוּ שְׁלֵמוּת הָאֱמוּנָה

This is the ultimate perfection of faith,

to believe that all of the different activities stem from Him

שֶׁנַּאֲמִין הֱיוֹת כָּל הַפְּעֻלּוֹת הַשּׁוֹנִים בָּאִים מִמֶּנּוּ דַוְקָא בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְרָטִית

with individual Divine providence,

לְכָל נִבְרָא בִּפְרָט

watching over every created being in a particular manner

עַל יְדֵי יְדִיעָתוֹ בּוֹ

through His knowledge of it,

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק ד'

as explained above in sec. 4.

וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן נַאֲמִין גַּם כֵּן שֶׁהוּא בְּעַצְמוּתוֹ אֵין בּוֹ שִׁנּוּי וְהִתְפַּעֲלוּת גַּם כֵּן

Nevertheless, we should also believe that in His Essence there is no change or activity,

כְּדִכְתִיב אֲנִי ה' לֹא שָׁנִיתִי (מַלְאָכִי ג' ו')

as it is written (Malachi 3:6): “I, G‑d, have not changed.”

שֶׁזֶּהוּ מֵעִקָּרֵי הָאֱמוּנָה גַם כֵּן

This is one of the fundamental aspects of faith,

לְהַאֲמִין בְּאַחְדּוּתוֹ הַפְּשׁוּטָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

to believe in His simple Oneness. Any concept of change on His part would contradict that oneness.

וְאֵין סוֹתְרִים זֶה אֶת זֶה

These two principles do not contradict each other,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִתְבָּאֵר הֵיטֵב אֵלּוּ דְבָרָיו זַ"ל שָׁם וּבְשַׁעַר א' פֶּרֶק ח'.

as explained in the Pardes, loc. cit., and in Shaar 1, ch. 8.

וְעַל פִּי הֲבָנָה זוֹ יֵשׁ לְהָבִין אֵיךְ אֵין שׁוּם שִׁנּוּי בַּמַּאֲצִיל יִתְבָּרֵךְ מֵהִשְׁתַּנּוּת הַפְּעֻלּוֹת

On the basis of this understanding, we must understand how there is no change in the Source of Emanation despite there being variation in the activities that G‑d brings about.

וַהֲרֵי בַּמָּשָׁל כְּשֶׁהָאוּמָן עוֹשֶׂה מְלָאכָה בִּכְלִי אוּמָנָתוֹ יֵשׁ בּוֹ הִתְפַּעֲלוּת

In the analogy of a craftsman performing a task with a tool, by contrast, the craftsman becomes actively involved

בְּהֶכְרֵחַ לְצַמְצֵם עַצְמוֹ בִּמְלָאכָה זוֹ

for it is necessary that he focus his attention on this task.

וּכְשֶׁעוֹסֵק בִּמְלָאכָה אַחֶרֶת עַל יְדֵי כְּלִי אוּמָנוּת אַחֶרֶת מִשְׁתַּנֶּה

And when he performs another task with a different tool, he must undergo change

לְצַמְצֵם עַצְמוֹ כְּעִנְיַן מְלָאכָה הַהִיא

to concentrate his attention and focus on the new task.

וְאֵיךְ הוּא לְמַעְלָה שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַפּוֹעֵל וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵינוֹ מִשְׁתַּנֶּה כְּדִכְתִיב לֹא שָׁנִיתִי כוּ'.

What then is the process Above that allows Him to bring about activity and nevertheless not change, as it is written: “I… have not changed”?

וְאֵלּוּ שְׁנֵי הַקֻּשְׁיוֹת יְתֹרְצוּ וְיוּבַן לַמַּשְׂכִּיל הֵיטֵב בְּהַקְדִּים הַקְדָּמָה אַחַת

These two questions – The question asked at the outset: “How can it be said that the Sefiros are G‑dliness when they are not comparable to His Being and His Essence?”; and the question asked at the end of the preceding paragraph “What then is the process that allows G‑d to bring about activity and nevertheless not change?” – can be resolved and thoroughly understood by a person of thought through the preface of a more general concept:

וְהוּא הַטַּעַם מַה שֶּׁהַמְּקֻבָּלִים כִּנּוּ לְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת אֱלֹהוּת בְּשֵׁם אוֹר

the reason the kabbalists referred to the drawing down of Divine life-energy with the term or(“light”)

וְלֹא כִּלְשׁוֹן הַפִלְסוֹפִים שֶׁקָּרְאוּ שֶׁפַע,

instead of using the term shefa(“influence”) used by the philosophers.

וְעַל פִּי הַקְדָּמָה זוֹ יוּבַן גַּם כֵּן עִנְיַן שֶׁכָּלַלְתִּי בְּעִקָּר הַה' בְּשֵׁם בַּעַל הָעִקָּרִים

Through this preface, clarification will also be achieved with regard to a concept that I included in the Fifth Principle of Faith, cited in the name of the author of the text Ikkarim:

וְהוּא שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ מְסֻלָּק מִן הַחֶסְרוֹנוֹת

that G‑d, blessed be He, has no faults.5

וְרוֹצֶה לוֹמַר בִּכְלָל זֶה שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ לֵאוּת חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

Included in this concept is that He does not weary, Heaven forbid,

אֶלָּא כְּדִכְתִיב לֹא יִיעַף וְלֹא יִיגָע וְגוֹ' (יְשַׁעְיָה מ' כ"ח)

as it is written (Yeshayahu40:28): “He does not weary; He does not tire.”

וּכְדִכְתִיב אַתָּה הוּא ה' לְבַדֶּךָ אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם (נְחֶמְיָה ט' ו')

And it is written (Nechemiah9:6): “You alone are G‑d; You made the heavens.”

וְכַמַּאֲמָר אַתָּה הוּא קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּבְרָא וּמִשֶּׁנִּבְרָא כוּ'

As we say in our prayers:6 “You are He Who existed before the world was created; You are He Who exists after the world was created.”

בְּהַשְׁוָאָה אַחַת מַמָּשׁ.

The implication is that there is an absolute equivalence between the two. Creation does not change G‑d in any way.

As the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain, since Creation is accomplished through or, G‑d’s light, it is effortless and does not bring about change within Him. This principle would be difficult to explain were He to have brought existence into being through shefa, influence.

וְהָעִנְיָן כִּי מִלַּת שֶׁפַע נוֹפֵל עַל עִנְיַן פְּעֻלָּה הַבָּאָה בְּהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת כֹּחַ מֵעֶצֶם הַמַּשְׁפִּיעַ

To explain: The word shefa refers to an activity that comes from an expression of force from the essence of the mashpia

Mashpia means “source of shefa.Shefa means “influence” or “flow.” On the most basic level, it refers to the flow of water from one body of water to another. On a higher plane, it refers to the transfer of power, intelligence, or feeling, as the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain.

עַד שֶׁעַצְמוּתוֹ נִטְרָד וְזָז מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וּמִמַּצָּבוֹ

to the extent that the mashpia himself is deeply in- volved and departs from his natural place and state

וְנוֹתֵן כֹּחוֹ לְהוֹלִיד וְלִפְעוֹל פְּעֻלָּה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה זוֹ

and invests his power in giving rise to and bringing about this activity and shefa.

In order to perform an activity, a person must invest and give of himself. No one gains knowledge or does work effortlessly. Every act a person performs requires that he invest himself into what he is doing.

וְנִמְצָא מִשְׁתַּנֶּה בֵּין מִקֹּדֶם שֶׁהִשְׁפִּיעַ

Therefore, – because he invests himself in the activity and gives of himself, he will undergo change – there is a difference between his state beforehand

שֶׁהָיָה בִּמְקוֹמוֹ

when the mashpiawas in his natural place

(מִלַּת מָקוֹם בְּזֶה הוּא לְשׁוֹן הַשְׁאָלָה כְּלוֹמַר בְּעַצְמִיּוּת מַהוּתוֹ)

(the term “place” is being used as an analogy; the intent is to refer to the mashpia when he is at rest, in his essential and natural state) –

לְאַחַר הֱיוֹתוֹ מַשְׁפִּיעַ

and afterwards, when he becomes an active source of shefa

שֶׁנִּטְרָד בְּכֹחוֹ לְעֵסֶק הַשְׁפָּעָתוֹ

and is deeply involved, using his force for the purpose of conveying his shefa.

וְהֵם כָּל עִנְיְנֵי מְלָאכוֹת הַנַּעֲשִׂים בְּיָד וָרֶגֶל

This refers to all the types of tasks that are performed with one’s hands and feet.

שֶׁכֹּחַ הַתְּנוּעָה שֶׁבַּיָּד מִתְפַּשֵּׁט בַּמְּלָאכָה עַד שֶׁמִּתְיַגֵּעַ

In these activities, the power of movement in his hands is expressed through the task until he becomes weary.

וּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא בְּהַשְׁפָּעוֹת כֹּחוֹת רוּחָנִים

Similar concepts apply with regard to the conveyance of shefa from one’s spiritual potentials,

כְּמוֹ הַשְׁפָּעַת הַשֵּׂכֶל מִכֹּחַ הַחָכְמָה

e.g., conveying intellect from one’s power of wisdom.

שֶׁעַצְמִיּוּת הַחָכְמָה וְהַשֵּׂכֶל הַמְלֻבָּשׁ בַּמּוֹחַ נִטְרָד לְהוֹלִיד שֶׁפַע הַהַשְׂכָּלָה

In that instance, the essence of one’s wisdom and intellect enclothed in one’s brain is deeply involved with generating the intellectual influence.

וְלָכֵן יִתְיַגֵּעַ בְּהַעֲמָקָתוֹ הַרְבֵּה בַּמֻּשְׂכָּלוֹת,

Therefore, the person will labor, extensively deepening his conception of intellectual concepts.

וְיִקָּרְאוּ פְּעֻלּוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁפַע בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ,

In the Holy Tongue, these activities, i.e., activities in which a person must invest effort, are called shefa.

וְאָמְנָם לְשׁוֹן אוֹר הוּא הִפּוּךְ זֶה,

The term or suggests the opposite of the above.

שֶׁעִם הֱיוֹת הוּא גַם כֵּן הַמְשָׁכָה מִמְּקוֹרוֹ

Although shining forth light also involves drawing down energy from its source,

אֲבָל הוּא בְּאֹפֶן שֶׁאֵין בִּמְקוֹרוֹ שׁוּם הִתְפַּעֲלוּת וְשִׁנּוּי בֵּין מִקֹּדֶם שֶׁהֵאִיר לְאַחַר שֶׁהֵאִיר

it does so in a manner that does not bring about any activity or change within the source, and afterwards, the source remains the same as it was before it shined.

The basis for this and the following concept is that light is merely radiance; it is nothing of substance, as opposed to shefa which is. When one gives something of substance, one must labor to impart that substance. When, however, one is not imparting anything – for the light is mere radiance – no effort is involved in emitting it.

אֶלָּא עוֹמֵד עַל מְקוֹמוֹ וּמַעֲלָתוֹ בְּשָׁוֶה לְעוֹלָם,

It remains in its place – i.e., its natural state – and level in the same manner for all time, i.e., the source of light does not change.

גַּם אִם יַרְבֶּה לְהָאִיר לֹא יִטָּרֵד

Even if it will shine over a broad expanse, the source of light will not become overtaxed,

וְאִם יַמְעִיט לֹא יִתּוֹסֵף כֹּחַ עַל יְדֵי זֶה

nor will it increase its strength if its shining is reduced.

וְכַנִּרְאֶה בַּעֲלִיל בִּמְאוֹר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ

This is obvious from an example on the material plane: the luminary of the sun.

שֶׁהַזִּיו הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מִמֶּנּוּ אֵינוֹ פּוֹעֵל בּוֹ שִׁנּוּי

The radiance that is drawn down from it does not bring about any change within it.

שֶׁמְּאוֹר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בְּעַצְמוּתוֹ בְּהַשְׁוָאָה אַחַת

The luminary of the sun itself is the same at all times,

וְהַזִּיו נִמְשָׁךְ מִמֵּילָא מִמֶּנּוּ

and its radiance is drawn down as a matter of course,

כִּי כָּךְ הִיא סְגֻלָּתוֹ בְּטִבְעוֹ

for this is the natural propensity of the sun

שֶׁבְּרָאוֹ הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ כָּךְ,

as created by G‑d.

וְלָכֵן אִם יִהְיֶה עָנָן וְלֹא יֻמְשַׁךְ זִיווֹ בַּחֲלַל הָעוֹלָם

Therefore, if it will be cloudy and the sun’s radiance will not be drawn down into the world,

לֹא יִתְרַבֶּה כֹּחוֹ עַל יְדֵי זֶה

its strength will not increase because of this

מֵאִם יִהְיֶה זִיווֹ מֵאִיר אֶלֶף שָׁנָה,

any more than if its radiance would shine for a thousand years.

In contrast, when a mashpia is actively involved in conveying influence, he becomes weary after continued effort and regains his strength through rest.

וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָהֶם בִּדְבָרִים הַמְּאִירִים שֶׁבְּרָאָם הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ

Similar concepts apply with regard to other luminous entities that G‑d created.

וְנָתַן בָּהֶם טֶבַע זוֹ

He endowed them with the nature

לִהְיוֹת הַמְשָׁכָה מֵהֶם שֶׁהוּא הָאוֹרָה מִמֵּילָא

that energy – light – would be drawn down from them effortlessly

עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִפְעַל בָּהֶם שִׁנּוּי כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

without involving any change within them, as explained above.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בִּשְׁאָרֵי הַנִּמְצָאִים שֶׁלֹּא הִטְבִּיעַ בָּהֶם הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ סְגֻלָּה זוֹ

In contrast, G‑d did not endow other beings with this tendency.

וְלָזֹאת כְּשֶׁיַּשְׁפִּיעוּ הֵם יִשְׁתַּנּוּ בְּעַצְמוּתָם

Hence, when they give off shefa,they themselves will change,

כִּי יִתְּנוּ כֹּחָם מַמָּשׁ בְּהַהַשְׁפָּעָה כוּ',

because they are investing their energy in imparting this influence.

וּמִמּוֹצָא דָבָר אַתָּה לָמֵד

Through the process of deduction, it follows

שֶׁמֵּאַחַר שֶׁהַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ בָּרָא נִבְרָאִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן סְגֻלָּה זוֹ

that if G‑d created beings that have the propensity to give off light without undergoing change,

אִם כֵּן כָּל שֶׁכֵּן וְקַל וָחֹמֶר שֶׁבּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ יֵשׁ זֶה

we must certainly conclude that He possesses this propensity Himself,

Every entity in this world exists as the exemplification of a particular Divine attribute or quality. For example, the propensity of the sun to give off light without the sun undergoing a change enables us to comprehend how G‑d emanates light without changing.7

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הַמְּשׁוֹרֵר קַל וָחֹמֶר זֶה עַל עִנְיָנִים אֲחֵרִים אָמַר

as the Psalmist stated with regard to other qualities

הֲנוֹטַע אֹזֶן הֲלֹא יִשְׁמָע אִם יוֹצֵר עַיִן הֲלֹא יַבִּיט כוּ'(תִּלִּים צ"ד ט')

(Tehillim 94:9): “He Who implants the ear, will He not hear? Will the One Who formed the eye not gaze?”

כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁכָּל הַשְּׁלֵמוּת שֶׁאָנוּ רוֹאִים נִמְשָׁכִים מִמֶּנּוּ בִּבְרוּאָיו פְּשִׁיטָא שֶׁנִּמְצָאִים בּוֹ

Implied is that all the positive qualities which we see drawn down from Him to the created beings certainly exist within Him,

אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא בְּמַעֲלָה יְתֵרָה וְנִפְלָאָה לְאֵין קֵץ וְתַכְלִית,

except that within Him, they exist in an infinitely more elevated and wondrous manner.

וְכָךְ הוּא גַם כֵּן שֶׁחַיּוּת הָאֱלֹהוּת שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ מְחַיֶּה הָעוֹלָמוֹת

Similar concepts apply with regard to the Divine vitality with which He grants life to the worlds,

מֵרֵישׁ כָּל דַּרְגִין עַד סוֹף כָּל דַּרְגִין

from the highest levels to the lowest levels.

הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ אֶצְלוֹ אֵינוֹ מִבְּחִינַת מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ מַמָּשׁ

This flow does not involve His actual Essence and Being, for then it would involve change.

אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ עִנְיַן הַזִּיו הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מִן הַמָּאוֹר כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

Instead, it is like the radiance that extends from a luminary which, as explained above,

שֶׁאֵין בְּהַמָּאוֹר שׁוּם שִׁנּוּי חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

does not involve any change in the luminary, Heaven forbid.

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת זִיו בִּלְבָד

Nevertheless, although it is only a radiance,

הִנֵּה הוּא בִּבְחִינַת אֵין סוֹף מַמָּשׁ

this light is actually Ein Sof for, otherwise, it would not be able to be the source for Creation and life,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁעַצְמוּתוֹ אֵין סוֹף

just as His Essence is Ein Sof,

כִּי הָאוֹר מֵעֵין הַמָּאוֹר

for the light is representative of the Source of light.

שֶׁהֲרֵי זִיו הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עִנְיָנוֹ מַהוּת הֶאָרָה

To refer back to the analogy of the sun: The ray of the sun is characterized by radiance

כְּמוֹ שֶׁגּוּף כַּדּוּר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עֶצֶם בְּהִירִי

like the body of the orb of the sun, which is a shining entity.

וְזִיו הַנֶּפֶשׁ הוּא עִנְיָן חִיּוּנִי (לֶעבֶּעדִיקַיְיט) מִתְפַּשֵּׁט בַּגּוּף

And the radiance of the soulis an entity with vitality that extends into the body,

שֶׁהוּא מְקַבֵּל חַיּוּת זֶה וְחַי מִמֶּנּוּ

enabling the body to receive this vitality and derive life from it.

לְפִי שֶׁמַּהוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הִיא רוּחַ חַיִּים

Since the essence of the soul is the spirit of life,

שֶׁכְּמוֹ כֵן יִהְיֶה אוֹרוֹ הֶאָרָה חִיּוּנִית,

its light is a life-giving radiance.

וְכָךְ לִהְיוֹת הִנֵּה מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ הַמְחֻיָּב הַמְּצִיאוּת

Similarly, in the analogue, since His Essence and Being is mechuyav hametzius;8

שֶׁהוּא לְבַדּוֹ הוּא וְאֵין זוּלָתוֹ

He exists alone and there is nothing else but Him

וְהוּא חַיֵּי הַחַיִּים,

and He is the Life of life.

כְּשֶׁיַּמְשִׁיךְ וְיָאִיר מִמֶּנּוּ וִיגַלֶּה הֶאָרָה בִּבְחִינַת זִיו כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

Accordingly, when a ray will be drawn down and shine from Him as radiance, as explained above,

עִנְיָנָהּ הוּא הַמְשָׁכַת חַיִּים בִּבְחִינַת אֵין סוֹף מַמָּשׁ>

its defining characteristic will be vital influence that is truly infinite.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב

This is the implication of the verse

הוֹדוֹ עַל אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם כוּ' (תִּלִּים קמ"ח י"ג)

(Tehillim 148:13): “His glory is upon the earth and the heavens.”

וּפֵרוּשׁ הוֹד וְזִיו,

The intent is that His glory, i.e., His radiance serves as the vitality for the heavens and the earth.

וְדַי בְּזֶה לְהָבִין וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל שֶׁאֵין הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת בָּעוֹלָמוֹת גּוֹרֵם בּוֹ שִׁנּוּי חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

The above should be sufficient for one to understand that drawing down vitality into the worlds does not bring about any change within Him, Heaven forbid, for the life-energy that He radiates shines forth effortlessly as does light from the sun,

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל בַּמָּשָׁל,

as explained in the analogy.

אֶלָּא שֶׁזֶּה צָרִיךְ לְהוֹדִיעַ

There is, however, a point that must be clarified,

שֶׁאֵין הַמָּשָׁל דּוֹמֶה לַנִּמְשָׁל

for the analogy does not resemble the analogue entirely.

שֶׁבַּמָּשָׁל הִנֵּה הֶאָרָה מֵהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בָּאָה מִמֶּנָּה מִמֵּילָא וּבְחִיּוּב

In the analogy, the ray from the sun emerges from it effortlessly, but also inevitably.

עַד שֶׁאֵין כֹּחַ בַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ לִמְנוֹעַ הֶאָרָתָהּ,

There is no power within the sun to prevent its radiance from shining forth.

וּבְזֶה מַעֲלַת הַמַּשְׁפִּיעַ בִּבְחִינַת שֶׁפַע מְעֻלֶּה יוֹתֵר מִן הַמֵּאִיר בִּבְחִינַת הֶאָרָה

In this aspect, there is an advantage to a mashpia who conveys shefa over the sun that gives forth radiance.

כִּי הַשֶּׁפַע מִן הַמַּשְׁפִּיעַ תְּלוּיָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ

For shefa from a mashpia is dependent on his will,

לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ אוֹ לִמְנוֹעַ

i.e., he decides whether to convey influence or not.

וּבֶאֱמֶת דְּהָא בְּהָא תַּלְיָא

In truth, these two concepts are dependent on each other.

שֶׁלְּפִי שֶׁבָּאָה בְּכֹחוֹ שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְטָרְדוֹ בָּהּ

Something which comes from one’s own will requires his personal involvement.

This reflects the positive quality of willful activity: that the person is individually involved. In the analogue, the implication is that although G‑d’s energy emerges in the manner of light, He is involved and invested in that light, as one is in a willful activity.

וְלָכֵן יִבְחַר אִם לַעֲסוֹק אוֹ לִמְנוֹעַ,

Hence, he has the choice whether to be involved in this activity or to withhold involvement.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּהַהֶאָרָה מִן הַמָּאוֹר שֶׁבָּאָה מִמֵּילָא

A ray that comes from a source of light, by contrast, emerges effortlessly,

אֵין לוֹ בְּחִירָה בְּזֶה,

but the source of light has no choice.

אַךְ זֶהוּ בַּנִּבְרָאִים לְבָד,

This limitation applies, however, only with regard to the created beings.

אֲבָל בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ יֵשׁ בּוֹ שְׁנֵי הַשְּׁלֵמֻיּוֹת

G‑d, by contrast, possesses both positive qualities,

שֶׁהֲרֵי כֻּלָּם נִמְשָׁכִים מִמֶּנּוּ

for all positive qualities emanate from Him.

וְהַיְנוּ שֶׁהַהֶאָרָה תְּלוּיָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ

Thus, the ray of Divine light is dependent on His will.

וּכְשֶׁנִּבְרָא הָעוֹלָם

When He created the world

הַיְנוּ שֶׁבִּרְצוֹנוֹ הַפָּשׁוּט הוּא לְהָאִיר מִמֶּנּוּ הֶאָרָה

– i.e., when it arose in His simple will to shine forth a ray –

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל שֶׁהֶאָרָה זוֹ בִּבְחִינַת זִיו לְבָד

then, as explained above, this ray, though only radiance,

הִנֵּה הִיא מְקוֹר כָּל הַחַיִּים כוּ'

became the source for all vitality.

וְלָכֵן קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּבְרָא הָעוֹלָם הָיָה הָאוֹר כָּלוּל בַּמָּאוֹר עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל

Therefore, before the world was created, it can be said by way of analogy that the light was absorbed in the source of light,

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בִּיכֹלֶת אֶצְלוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְהַחֲיוֹת הָעוֹלָם

i.e., there exists within G‑d the potential to grant life to the world

וּלְהָאִיר בִּבְחִינַת זִיו כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

and shine in a radiant manner, as explained above.

שֶׁזֶּהוּ אֵין סוֹף

This potential is Ein Sof.

For it is representative of its Source, and thus reveals His infinity.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֵאִיר מִמֶּנּוּ זִיו זֶה בִּבְחִינַת גִּלּוּי

Afterwards, this ray radiated forth from Him in a revealed manner.

כִּי הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ הִיא עַל יְדֵי רָצוֹן דַּוְקָא

For this emanation is willful

וְלֹא מִמֵּילָא חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

and does not come about as a matter of course, Heaven forbid.

For if the revelation of this light came as a matter of course, that would imply that it is independent of G‑d. The existence of any entity or potential independent of Him represents a contradiction to His Oneness.

וְעִנְיַן אָמְרֵנוּ רָצוֹן הוּא רָצוֹן פָּשׁוּט

By saying “willful,” we imply a simple uncompounded will, not a will that comes as a result of a conscious decision,

שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת רָצוֹן דְּי' סְפִירוֹת

that is above the level of will which is included among the Ten Sefiros.

According to one conception, the first of the Sefiros is Kesser, and will is identified with the external dimension of Kesser. Here, however, we are speaking of a higher form of will, one that cannot be identified with any Sefirah.

שֶׁהֲגַם שֶׁבְּי' סְפִירוֹת גַּם כֵּן הוּא וּרְצוֹנוֹ אֶחָד

Even though with regard to the Ten Sefiros, it can also be said, “He and His will are one,”

עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַמְבַּ"ם זַ"ל הוּא הַיּוֹדֵעַ וְהוּא הַמַּדָּע כוּ' כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

in a way that parallels Rambam’s statement: “He is the Knower, He is the Object of Knowledge…,” as explained above,

כְּבָר אָמַרְנוּ לְמַעְלָה שֶׁמַּהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה גַם מִזֶּה,

we have already explained there that His Essence and Being are far above this.

Implied is that the unity on this essential level is far higher and simpler than the unity that exists between G‑d and the Sefiros of Atzilus.

וְאָמְרֵנוּ רָצוֹן שָׁם הַיְנוּ רַק לִשְׁלוֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ בְּדֶרֶךְ חִיּוּב חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

When we use the term “will” referring to that higher level, the intent is merely to negate the possibility of the light emerging inevitably, Heaven forbid.

In mortal terms, will always reflects a lack. A person wants something because he is lacking it. (Indeed, the very word “want” has that implication.) On the other hand, the power of will involves a very strong investment of self, while, by contrast, when a person is compelled to do something, he is not investing himself. Moreover, one who acts willfully does so as a result of his own independent choice; nothing is compelling him. G‑d’s will possesses the positive dimension of willful activity, that He invests Himself, but not the negative dimension, that He is lacking and seeks fulfillment.

וּכְבָר אָמַרְנוּ שָׁם שֶׁנֶּעְלָם מִמֶּנּוּ הַשָּׂגַת וְצִיּוּר מַהוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

And we already explained there that the comprehension and conception of His Essence is hidden from us

אֶלָּא בֶּאֱמוּנָה לְבָד:

and a connection with that level can only be achieved through faith.


In the previous section, the Tzemach Tzedek stated that the keilim of Atzilus are G‑dliness. Here he raises a question regarding that statement, for how can it be said that they are G‑dliness when they are not comparable to His Essence? They are defined entities, and His Essence is simple and infinite.

Another point raised in the previous section requires clarification. There, it was explained that the keilim are utensils, and the difference in influence from Above depends on the variation in the keilim through which His light flows.

The Tzemach Tzedek illustrates this concept by citing an analogy offered by Ramak: the life-energy of the soul enclothed in the limbs of the body. This life-energy is simple, but it adapts itself to the organs in which it is manifest. Similarly, the vitality of G‑d’s essential light adapts somewhat to fit the nature of each individual k’li. If so, it appears that there is change and activity within G‑d’s essential light, and thus it might be considered as if G‑d underwent change.

To resolve this apparent difficulty, Ramak offers the classic analogy of water whose color appears to change according to the color of the container in which it is held. The change of color is not genuine, as evident from the fact that after the water leaves the container, its appearance returns to its natural state. Similarly, in the analogue, Ramak also emphasizes that the change brought about by the enclothement of the light in the Sefiros involves only G‑d’s light, but not His Essence. His Essence remains in its original state.

The Tzemach Tzedek continues, explaining the reason why the kabbalists referred to the drawing down of Divine life-energy with the term or (“light”) instead of using the term shefa (“influence”) used by the philosophers.

The word shefa refers to an activity that comes from an expression of energy from the essence of the mashpia (“source of influence”) to the extent that the mashpia himself is deeply involved. He invests his energy in bringing about an activity and thus undergoes change.

This concept does not apply to or, light. Although light also involves a radiation of energy from its source, giving off that radiance does not bring about any activity or change within the source. Accordingly, afterwards, the source is the same as it was before the light shined forth.

There is, however, an advantage to a mashpia who conveys shefa compared to the sun that gives forth radiance, for shefa from a mashpia is dependent on his will; he decides whether to convey influence or not. In contrast, there is no power within the sun to prevent its radiance from shining forth.

In truth, as explained below, these two concepts are dependent on each other. Something that comes from one’s own will requires his personal involvement. Hence, he has the choice whether or not to be involved in this activity. A ray that comes from a source of light, by contrast, emerges effortlessly, but the source of light has no choice.

This limitation applies, however, only to the created beings. G‑d, by contrast, possesses both positive qualities, for all positive qualities emanate from Him. He radiates light willfully and thus invests Himself in the light, and yet the emanation of that light does not cause Him to change.