This section explains the Fourth Principle of Faith, which states that G‑d’s existence does not have a beginning in time. Indeed, time itself is a creation and G‑d is above that framework entirely. Clarification is given regarding our Sages’ expression “the order of time.”



(יא)

– XI –

הָעִקָּר הַד' הוּא

The Fourth Fundamental Principle of Faith, mentioned by Rambam,1

שֶׁאֵין לוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הִתָּלוּת בִּזְמַן,

is that G‑d is not dependent on time.

וּבֵאוּר זֶה הַיְנוּ שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ קַדְמוֹן

The explanation of this is that He is kadmon,

The term literally means that He exists before everything. But as will be explained – and this is one of the focal points of this chapter – referring to Him as kadmon indicates that He exists independent of time. As the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain, this concept relates to the idea that He is mechuyav hametzius, that He is true existence.

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין לוֹ הַתְחָלָה

i.e., that His existence does not have a beginning

וְכָל מַה שֶּׁזּוּלָתוֹ אֵינוֹ קַדְמוֹן>

– in contrast to everything other than Him, about which this cannot be said.

אֶלָּא מְחֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

Instead, all other existence is comprised of new entities which were brought into being by Him;

וּקְדָמָם הַהֶעְדֵּר כוּ'

their prior state was non-being.

The term “non-being” is very difficult for us to conceive. When it is used, our natural tendency is to picture a vacuum, i.e., the absence of substance. That, however, is not a true sense of non-being. “Non-being” means a state above our entire frame of reference – neither existence as we know it, nor its absence.

וְהַכָּתוּב הַמּוֹרֶה עַל זֶה הוּא

The verse which reflects this concept is

מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב מְעוֹנָה אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם כוּ' (דְּבָרִים ל"ג כ"ז)

(Devarim 33:27): “The abode of the primeval G‑d.”2

וְהִנֵּה לְפִי מַה שֶּׁנִּבְאַר

According to what was explained above

שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ אֵין לוֹ הִתָּלוּת בִּזְמַן כְּלָל

– that G‑d has no dependence on time at all –

אִם כֵּן אָמְרֵנוּ קַדְמוֹן אֵינוֹ קְדִימָה זְמַנִּית חָלִילָה

the description of Him as kadmon does not refer to chronological precedence, Heaven forbid,

שֶׁנֹּאמַר שֶׁקָּדַם לְהָעוֹלָם בִּזְמַן

i.e., that chronologically He existed before the world,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁנֹּחַ קַדְמוֹן מִדָּוִד

as one would say, Noach existed before David.

שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם הַזְּמַן מַגְבִּילָם

For the existence of both of these individuals is limited by time.

וְזֶה קָדַם זְמַן מָה לָזֶה,

It is just that one existed some time before the other.

וְזֶה אֵינוֹ בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

This cannot be said with regard to G‑d.

אֶלָּא עִנְיַן הַקַּדְמוּת שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹמְרִים בּוֹ

Instead, describing Him as kadmon

הוּא שֶׁהוּא קָדַם לַכֹּל

implies that He exists before everything,

וְגַם לִבְחִינַת הַזְּמַן

even before time.

כִּי גַם הַזְּמַן הוּא נִבְרָא מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

For time was also created by Him

כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים

like the other creations.

וְאֵין זוֹ קְדִימָה זְמַנִּית

Thus, we are not speaking about chronological precedence.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ הוּא לְבַדּוֹ הָיָה טֶרֶם מְצִיאַת הַזְּמַן

Instead, the intent is that He existed alone, before the existence of time.

The use of the past tense here is only for the sake of familiarity, i.e., it is easier to conceive of the idea when it is worded in this manner. In truth, we could say “He exists alone, above the existence of time,” for at present as well, G‑d is truly above time, as the Tzemach Tzedek continues to explain.

וּכְשֶׁבָּרָא הָעוֹלָם בָּרָא גַם כֵּן הַזְּמַן

When He created the world, He also created time.

וְנִמְצָא הַזְּמַן נִתְהַוָּה אַחַר כָּךְ

Thus, time was brought into being after the arousal of His desire to create.

וְכָל הָעוֹלָם בִּכְלָלוֹ שֶׁהֵם מְחֻדָּשִׁים

It and the entire world are new entities

וַהֲרֵי הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ קוֹדֵם לָהֶם

and G‑d existed before them.

אֶלָּא שֶׁקְּדִימָה זוֹ נִפְלָאָה בְּיוֹתֵר מִקְּדִימָה זְמַנִּית

The nature of G‑d’s precedence, however, is far more wondrous than chronological precedence.

שֶׁהִיא קְדִימָה מֻגְבֶּלֶת

Chronological precedence reflects precedence that is limited by nature,

כִּי הַזְּמַן הוּא בַּעַל גְּבוּל

for time is also limited,

לִהְיוֹתוֹ נִבְרָא

because it is a creation,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר אִם יִרְצֶה ה'

as will be explained below, with G‑d’s help.

וְזוֹ הִיא בִּלְתִּי מֻגְבֶּלֶת

G‑d’s precedence, by contrast, is an unlimited precedence,

כִּי הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמְחֻיָּב הַמְּצִיאוּת

for He is mechuyav hametzius.3

הָיָה מֵעוֹלָם

G‑d has existed forever.

וְלֹא שֶׁנִּתְהַוָּה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

He was not brought into being, Heaven forbid.

אֶלָּא נִמְצָא תָּמִיד

Instead, He has always existed.

וְאָמְרֵנוּ נִמְצָא תָּמִיד הַיְנוּ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל אִלּוּ תֹּאמַר זְמַן בְּלִי גְבוּל מַמָּשׁ

Saying He has always existed is like saying that He exists for an infinite span of time.

אֲבָל בֶּאֱמֶת הוּא נִמְצָא שֶׁלֹּא בִזְמַן

This, however, is not an adequate explanation of the concept. Instead, in truth, He exists independent of time,

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר בִּבְחִינָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת זְמַן כְּלָל

above the entire framework of chronology.

וְגַם עַתָּה הוּא הֹוֶה לְמַעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת זְמַן

Even now, after time has been created, He exists above time,

אֶלָּא שֶׁהַזְּמַן הוּא רַק בַּנִּבְרָאִים כוּ',

for time is relevant only to the created beings.

וּבֵאוּר הָעִנְיָן

To explain the concept:

הִנֵּה גַּם חַכְמֵי הַפִלְסוֹפִים הִסְכִּימוּ וְהוֹכִיחוּ שֶׁהַזְּמַן הוּא נִבְרָא וּבְרֹאשָׁם הָרַב רַבִּי אַבְרָהָם בֶּן עֶזְרָא,

Behold, even the sages of philosophy, the foremost of them being R. Avraham ibn Ezra, have agreed and proven that time is a creation.

וּלְקָרֵב הַדָּבָר אֶל הַשֵּׂכֶל,

This concept can be brought closer to our understanding

בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה וּמַכְרַחַת,

with the following clear and conclusive proof.

הוּא שֶׁהֲרֵי אָנוּ רוֹאִים שֶׁהַזְּמַן הוּא דָבָר הַמִּתְחַלֵּק לַחֲלָקִים

We see that time can be divided into segments.

הַיּוֹם אֶחָד מִשס"ה חֶלְקֵי הַשָּׁנָה,

A day is one 365th of a year.4

וְשָׁעָה אֶחָד מִכ"ד בַּיּוֹם,

An hour is one 24th of a day.

וְרֶגַע אֶחָד מִתתר"ף בַּשָּׁעָה,

A moment is one 1080th5 of an hour.

וְהָרֶגַע הִיא גְבוּלִית כְּמֵימְרֵיהּ,

Now, a moment is a fleeting measure,6

וּבְהִקָּבֵץ תתר"ף חֲלָקִים גְּבוּלִיִּים כָּאֵלּוּ יִהְיֶה מֶשֶׁךְ שָׁעָה,

but collecting 1080 of such limited measures will produce a span of an hour.

וּבְהִקָּבֵץ כ"ד שָׁעוֹת יִהְיֶה מֶשֶׁךְ יוֹם

Combining 24 hours will produce a span of a day,

(שֶׁהוּא מֶשֶׁךְ הַקָּפַת הַגַּלְגַּל הַיּוֹמִי)

(the time necessary for the revolution of the daily orbit).

וּבְהִקָּבֵץ שס"ה יָמִים יִהְיֶה שָׁנָה,

Combining 365 days will produce a year.

וּבְקִבּוּץ שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת יִהְיֶה שְׁמִטָּה וְיוֹבֵל

Combining several years will produce a Shemitah cycle,7 a Jubilee cycle,8

אוֹ אֶלֶף שָׁנָה אוֹ שִׁית אַלְפֵי שְׁנֵי דְּהָוֵי עָלְמָא,

a millennium, or the six millennia which will encompass the world’s existence.9

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁהוּא מְקֻבָּץ מֵחֲלָקִים

Now, since time is comprised of units, both smaller and larger units as detailed,

הֲרֵי נִמְנָע שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּלִי מֻגְבָּל בְּפֹעַל,

it is impossible for time to be actually infinite,

וְרוֹצֶה לוֹמַר שֶׁתֹּאמַר שֶׁכְּבָר הָיָה זְמַן בְּלִי גְבוּל,

i.e., one cannot say that an infinite amount of time passed.

וְהַיְנוּ שֶׁהָיוּ חֶלְקִיִּים גְּבוּלִיִּים נִקְבָּצִים הַרְבֵּה מְאֹד עַד שֶׁהָיָה מִזֶּה בְּלִי גְבוּל וְהוּא דָבָר נִמְנָע

For it is impossible to gather many limited units until one amasses something unlimited,

כִּי מִן הַגְּבוּל לֹא יִתְהַוֶּה הַבִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל

for limitation can never produce something unlimited.

אֲפִלּוּ אִם תְּקַבֵּץ חֲלָקִים בְּרִבּוּי הַיּוֹתֵר מֻפְלָג

Even if one were to gather an awesome multitude of units,

הַכֹּל יִהְיֶה גְבוּל

the sum would be limited,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁכָּל חֵלֶק הוּא גְבוּלִי

for every portion of it would be limited.

שֶׁהֲרֵי לְגַבֵּי בִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל

For in relation to something that is truly unlimited,

מֻכְרָחִים אָנוּ לוֹמַר שֶׁשָּׁוֶה רִבּוֹא רְבָבוֹת עִם אֶחָד מַמָּשׁ

we have to say that many myriads and one are actually the same,

שֶׁלֹּא תִמָּצֵא בּוֹ חֲלָקִים רִבּוֹא רְבָבוֹת פָּחוֹת מִמַּה שֶּׁתִּמָּצֵא בּוֹ חֲלָקִים שֶׁל אֶחָד

i.e., the sum will not be less whether the infinite quality will be divided by 10,000 or divided by one.

This is actually true in contemporary mathematics. Regardless of the number that ∞ (infinity) is divided by, the sum is the same.

שֶׁאִם כֵּן הָיָה גְבוּלִי

For were that not so, the sum would also be limited.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּלִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים (פֶּרֶק מ"ח) בְּפֵרוּשׁ אֵין עֲרוֹךְ כוּ'

We find similar concepts in Tanya (ch. 48) in the explanation of the expression “There is no comparison….”

In that source, the Alter Rebbe states that limitation and infinity have no comparison. There is a numerical relationship between large and small numbers, but no such relationship can be established with an entity that is infinite.

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁאֶחָד עִם רִבּוֹא רְבָבוֹת עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל שָׁוֶה מַמָּשׁ

Since the number one and a very large sum, say, a myriad of myriads are actually the same in relation to infinity,

אִם כֵּן אֵיךְ יִתָּכֵן שֶׁמִּן הָרִבּוּי שֶׁל הָאֲחָדִים יִתְהַוֶּה הַבִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל

how is it possible that by multiplying limited units, one will reach something unlimited?

וּמַמָּשׁ כְּמוֹ שֶׁרֶגַע אֶחָד פְּשִׁיטָא שֶׁרְחוֹקָה מְאֹד מֵעִנְיַן בִּלְתִּי הַהַגְבָּלָה

It is obvious that one moment is extremely distant from an unlimited entity,

שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לְךָ מֻגְבֶּלֶת יוֹתֵר מִהְיוֹתָהּ כְּמֵימְרֵיהּ בְּעָלְמָא

for there is nothing more limited than a fleeting moment.

כָּכָה מַמָּשׁ מִן הָרִבּוּי שֶׁל הָאֲחָדִים לֹא יִהְיֶה רַק גְּבוּל כוּ',

In the same way, a multitude of such units – or even larger units, for as explained above, the larger units are made up of smaller units – will only produce a limited entity.

וְעוֹד שֶׁמֵּאַחַר שֶׁהָרֶגַע וְהַשָּׁעָה הִיא חֵלֶק מִן כְּלָלוּת הַזְּמַן

Moreover, since a moment and an hour are portions of the total span of time

שֶׁהָיָה מֵעֵת הֱיוֹתוֹ,

that has existed since the creation of time,

הֲרֵי בְּהֶכְרֵחַ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מִסְפַּר כַּמָּה חֲלָקִים כָּמֹהוּ

it is necessary to say that the total span of time has a finite number of portions like the hours and moments,

שֶׁהֲרֵי אָנוּ רוֹאִים שֶׁכָּל שֶׁיֻּמְשַׁךְ עוֹד

for we see that as time proceeds,

יִתְרַבֶּה הַזְּמַן

the span of time becomes greater.

וַהֲרֵי מֵאַחַר שֶׁמִּתְרַבֶּה עִם חֵלֶק גְּבוּלִי הַנּוֹסָף עָלָיו

Since it becomes greater by the addition of limited units,

בְּהֶכְרֵחַ שֶׁהוּא עַצְמוֹ הָיָה גַם כֵּן גְּבוּל

it is necessary to say that it itself is also limited.

שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיָה בִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל

For were it to be unlimited,

לֹא יִתְרַבֶּה מִדָּבָר גְּבוּלִי

it would not be increased by the addition of a limited entity,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁאֵין עֲרוֹךְ לוֹ הַגְּבוּל כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

for an unlimited quantity is not comparable to anything limited.

שֶׁאִם לֹא כֵן הֲרֵי מָצָאתָ בִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל גָּדוֹל יוֹתֵר מִבִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל אַחֵר

Were this not to be true, if an unlimited entity could be increased, there would be one unlimited entity greater than another unlimited entity.

כְּאִלּוּ תֹּאמַר שֶׁבְּמֶשֶׁךְ אֶלֶף שָׁנָה

To put the concepts in the context of time, it would be like saying that over the duration of a millennium,

נִתְגַּדֵּל וְנִתְרַבָּה הַזְּמַן שֶׁהָיָה בִּלְתִּי בַּעַל גְּבוּל

the unlimited span of time increased.

וְזֶה אִי אֶפְשָׁר כוּ'

Certainly, such a statement is self-contradictory.

אֶלָּא וַדַּאי שֶׁהַזְּמַן הוּא מֻגְבָּל בְּעֶצֶם

Instead, we must conclude that time is fundamentally limited

וּלְכָךְ יִתּוֹסֵף מֵרִבּוּי חֲלָקִים גְּבוּלִיִּים

and therefore it is increased by the addition of limited units.

וְשֶׁכָּל שִׁעוּר גְּבוּלִי הוּא בֶּאֱמֶת חֵלֶק מִמֶּנּוּ

Every limited measure is truly a segment of the entire span of time

וְיִתְגַּדֵּל בְּרִבּוּי הַחֲלָקִים כוּ'

and that span will be increased by adding segments.

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁהוּא מֻגְבָּל הֲרֵי קְדָמוֹ הַהֶעְדֵּר,

Since time is limited, it was preceded by non-existence.

For every limited entity is bound by its limits and does not exist beyond them. Among those limited, created entities is time. For at one point it did not exist, and thus its existence has a beginning in time.

וְהִנֵּה מַה שֶּׁהָיָה לְפָנָיו הֲרֵי בְּהֶכְרֵחַ שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְּחִינַת זְמַן כְּלָל,

Therefore, before time came into being, we are forced to say there was a state of existence in which there was no time at all.

This state of existence is above our comprehension. Just as we cannot conceive of non-being with regard to space, so too, we cannot conceive of non-being with regard to time.

וְהִנֵּה הִתְבָּאֵר שֶׁהַזְּמַן הוּא נִבְרָא

It is thus explained that time is a creation

וּמְחֻדָּשׁ מֵאַיִן לְיֵשׁ כְּכָל הַבְּרוּאִים,

and was brought into being from nothingness like all other creations.

וְהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ הָיָה לְבָד בְּלִי בְּחִינַת זְמַן

G‑d alone is independent of time.

וַאֲפִלּוּ הַמֶּשֶׁךְ הַבִּלְתִּי מְשֻׁעָר עַל יְדֵי הַגַּלְגַּל כִּזְמַן שֶׁלָּנוּ לֹא הָיָה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

Saying that He is independent of time implies that He is not limited, Heaven forbid, even by a span of time that is not determined by the revolution of the sphere as our time is.

כִּי סוֹף כָּל סוֹף הֲרֵי הוּא מִתְחַלֵּק לַחֲלָקִים גְּבוּלִיִּים

For even were there to be such a conception of time, ultimately, it would be divided into limited units.

וּבְהֶכְרֵחַ שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל גְּבוּל

Thus, it would have to be limited,

וְאִם כֵּן הוּא מְחֻדָּשׁ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

and hence, it would be a new and created entity, as explained above.

אֶלָּא הָיָה לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה עִלּוּי רַב מִמְּצִיאוּת שֶׁבִּזְמַן

It is just that this conception of time would exist very far above any existence that is within time.

וְאֵיךְ וּמָה הוּא נֶעְלָם מֵאִתָּנוּ

What such a level is and how to define it transcends our comprehension

כְּמוֹ שֶׁעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ נֶעְלָם,

just as His Essence is hidden from us.

אֲבָל יוֹדְעִים אָנוּ בְּבֵרוּר שֶׁכֵּן הוּא

Nevertheless, we know with certainty that this is the reality.

וְזוֹהִי מֵעֵין יְדִיעַת הַמְּצִיאוּת וְלֹא הַשָּׂגַת הַמַּהוּת

This is somewhat like the concept of knowing a reality exists but not comprehending its nature

שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר פֶּרֶק ב',

as was described in section 2.10

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ יוֹדְעִים בֵּרוּר מְצִיאַת הָרוּחָנִית בְּאֹפֶן שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִגֶּדֶר הַהַגְבָּלָה בְּמָקוֹם

To cite a parallel, we know clearly that there exists a spiritual reality that is not bound by spatial limitations.

שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּל הַחוֹקְרִים הִסְכִּימוּ פֶּה אֶחָד

For all the philosophers have unanimously agreed

שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִגַּלְגַּל הַט'

that above the ninth sphere,

Rambam11 speaks of the heavens being divided into nine spheres. These spheres, however, are all material entities, conforming to the limits of time and space. Above them, there is an entire spiritual framework of existence that is not bound by time and space as we know them.

אֵין מְצִיאַת מָקוֹם כְּלָל

there is no concept of space at all,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּפַּרְדֵּס מֵהָרְמַ"ק

as Ramak writes in the Pardes12

וְהוֹכִיחוּ בִּרְאָיוֹת בְּרוּרוֹת וְדַעַת לַנָּבוֹן נָקָל

and demonstrates with clear proofs that are easily grasped by men of understanding.

שֶׁהָרְאָיָה הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל עַל שֶׁהַזְּמַן מֻגְבָּל

For the proof given above with regard to the limits of time

– that if units are limited, any collective made up from them must also be limited.

תִּתְפָּרֵשׁ גַּם כֵּן בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת

is more powerfully relevant

כִּמְעַט נִרְאֶה לָעַיִן

– indeed, it is almost perceivable by the eye – with regard to space.

שֶׁהַמָּקוֹם

For space

רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר אֲפִלּוּ הָרֵיקוּת שֶׁבַּחֲלַל הָעוֹלָם

– even the emptiness which constitutes the hollow space for the world’s existence

מֻגְבָּל

is limited,

שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא מִתְחַלֵּק לַחֲלָקִים>

for it is divisible into units:

לְאַמּוֹת וּטְפָחִים וְאֶצְבָּעוֹת כוּ' וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

cubits, handbreadths, fingerbreadths, and the like, as explained above.

וְהִנֵּה הַמְּצִיאוּת שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִגַּלְגַּל הַט'

The reality that exists above the ninth sphere, by contrast,

מֻשְׁלָל מִמְּצִיאַת מָקוֹם

transcends totally the concept of physical space

כְּמוֹ מְצִיאַת הָרֵיקוּת שֶׁבַּחֲלַל הָעוֹלָם

even the emptiness which constitutes the hollow space for the world’s existence.

שֶׁזֶּהוּ הַמָּקוֹם בֶּאֱמֶת

This “hollow space” represents the true concept of space.

וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁם

Since the reality above the ninth sphere is not defined by space,

יִתְפַּלֵּא הַמַּשְׂכִּיל עַל מַהוּת הַמְּצִיאוּת הַהוּא

a thinker will wonder what the nature of this spiritual reality is:

אֵיךְ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת בְּלִי מָקוֹם

How is it possible for there to be an existence not bound by space?

שֶׁכָּל גֶּשֶׁם שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל מִדּוֹמֵם־צוֹמֵחַ־חַי־מְדַבֵּר

For every physical entity – inanimate objects, plants, animals, and humans – in this lowly world

אִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת עוֹמֵד אֶלָּא בְּמָקוֹם

can exist only within space;

שֶׁהוּא הָרֵיקוּת הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל

i.e., within the emptiness mentioned above.

וְעַל כָּרְחָךְ מִכָּל מָקוֹם כֵּן הוּא

Nevertheless, we must say that spiritual reality exists above space.

וְזֶהוּ יְדִיעַת הַמְּצִיאוּת וְלֹא הַשָּׂגַת הַמַּהוּת

This is what is meant by knowing that something exists but not comprehending its nature.

The Tzemach Tzedek is saying that we know of the existence of a spiritual reality above the concept of space, but can’t comprehend its nature.

וּכְמוֹ כֵן הוּא עַל הַמְּצִיאוּת שֶׁבִּלְתִּי זְמַן

Similarly, when speaking about existence that is independent of time,

אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים בָּרוּר מְצִיאוּת הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל וְלֹא הַשָּׂגַת מַהוּת,

we can know clearly that there is this type of existence even though we cannot comprehend its nature.

וְזֶהוּ לֹא יִפָּלֵא כְּלָל

This is not surprising at all.

כִּי כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֵין הַמָּקוֹם מְחֻיָּב אֶלָּא לְגַשְׁמִיּוּת,

Just as space is necessary only for physical existence and not for spiritual existence

וְהָרוּחָנִי אֵינוֹ בְּעֶרְכּוֹ

– indeed, space is not at all relevant to spiritual existence –

כְּמוֹ כֵן הַזְּמַן כוּ':

so too, time as we know it does not apply to spiritual existence. To explain by analogy: Take the concept of truth, even a simple mathematical truth like 2+2=4. The truth is timeless, unchanging no matter how much time passes.

וְאָמְנָם יָדוּעַ הַמַּאֲמָר הַמְבֹאָר בְּמִדְרָשׁ רַבָּה בְּרֵאשִׁית ג'

The above can, however, be questioned based on a well-known teaching, explained in Bereishis Rabbah 3:7

עַל פָּסוּק וַיְהִי עֶרֶב

on the phrase:13 “And there was evening....”:

אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בַּר סִימָן מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה סֵדֶר זְמַנִּים קֹדֶם לָכֵן,

“Rabbi Yehudah bar Simon states: ‘This teaches that “the order of time” existed beforehand.’ ”

שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה מִדְּבָרָיו שֶׁהָיָה זְמַן קֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם

It is apparent from his words that time existed before the creation of the world.

וְנִדְחֲקוּ בּוֹ הַמְפָרְשִׁים לְפָרְשׁוֹ בְּדֹחַק,

The commentaries were hard-pressed to explain this statement,

אָמְנָם בֶּאֱמֶת לֹא קָשֶׁה מִידֵּי,

but in truth it is not difficult at all.

כִּי יֵשׁ הֶפְרֵשׁ בֵּין זְמַן לְסֵדֶר הַזְּמַן,

For there is a difference between time and “the order of time,”

וְסֵדֶר הַזְּמַן הוּא דַק יוֹתֵר מֵעִנְיַן הַזְּמַן

for “the order of time” is a more abstract level of existence than time,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר

as will be explained.

וְעַל סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן הוּא שֶׁכַּוָּנָתוֹ שֶׁהָיָה קֹדֶם לָכֵן

Rabbi Yehudah’s intent was that “the order of time” existed beforehand.

אַךְ גַּם הוּא אֵינֶנּוּ קַדְמוֹן כְּמוֹ הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ

Nevertheless, this “order of time” is also not kadmon as G‑d is.

אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּבְרָא גַם כֵּן אַחַר הַהֶעְדֵּר

Instead, it is also a creation that came into existence from a state of non-being.

אֶלָּא שֶׁקָּדַם לָעוֹלָם הַרְבֵּה

It is just that it preceded the world considerably.

וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁאָמַר רַבִּי אֲבוּהוּ שָׁם

To cite a parallel: R. Abuhu said:14

מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹנֶה עוֹלָמוֹת וּמַחֲרִיבָן

“This teaches that G‑d would build worlds and destroy them,

In other sources,15 this is interpreted as a reference to the world of Tohu which was brought into being and then destroyed, as the Tzemach Tzedek explains later on.

וְאָמַר דֵּין הַנְיָן לִי וְדֵין לָא הַנְיָן לִי

and He said: ‘These bring Me satisfaction and these did not bring Me satisfaction.’ ”

וּמֵאָז שֶׁהִתְחִיל בִּנְיַן עוֹלָמוֹת הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל

From the time the building of these worlds began,

הָיָה נִמְצָא סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן

there was an “order of time.”

כִּי הָעוֹלָמוֹת הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל הֵם עִנְיָנִים רוּחָנִיִּים נַעֲלִים מֵעוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל שֶׁלָּנוּ

For these worlds represented elevated spiritual realms above our lowly material world,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר

as will be explained.

עַד שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בָּהֶם זְמַן גַּשְׁמִי כְּשֶׁלָּנוּ

Thus, existence within these realms was not characterized by time in a material sense as we know it,

אֶלָּא הַמְּצִיאוּת הַנִּקְרֵאת סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן

but by a frame of reference described as “the order of time.”

וּלְאַחַר שֶׁנִּבְרָא הָעוֹלָם הָיָה הַזְּמַן גַּשְׁמִי שֶׁלָּנוּ

After the creation of the physical world, there was time in a material sense as we know it,

הַמְשֻׁעָר בִּתְנוּעַת הַגַּלְגַּל,

i.e., time that is determined by the movement of the daily sphere.

אָמְנָם קֹדֶם בִּנְיַן הָעוֹלָמוֹת הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל

Nevertheless, before those spiritual worlds were built,

גַּם סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן לֹא הָיָה

“the order of time” also did not exist.

אֶלָּא הָיָה הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְבַדּוֹ הוּא

G‑d alone was the sole existence.

שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִן הַזְּמַן לְגַמְרֵי

He is entirely independent of time

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

as explained above.

וּלְהָבִין זֶה,

To understand the above,

יֵשׁ לְהַקְדִּים בֵּאוּר מַאֲמַר זֹהַר בְּפָרָשַׁת תְּרוּמָה דַּף קס"א

it is necessary to explain the statement of the Zohar Vol. II, Parshas Terumah, p. 161a, as a preface:

קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אִסְתַּכֵּל בְּאוֹרַיְתָא וּבָרָא עָלְמָא

“The Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world….

בְּאוֹרַיְתָא כְּתִיב וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹקִים יְהִי אוֹר

In the Torah, it is written:16 ‘And G‑d said: Let there be light.’

אִסְתַּכֵּל בְּהַאי מִלָּה וּבָרָא לֵיהּ

He looked into that word and created the light.

וְכֵן בְּכָל מִלָּה וּמִלָּה

This is true about each and every word in the Torah,

הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב וָאֶהְיֶה אֶצְלוֹ אָמוֹן

as implied by the phrase:17 ‘I (the Torah) was His tool.’

אוּמָן לָא כְּתִיב

The verse does not say: ‘I was His craftsman,’

לַאו דְּאוֹרַיְתָא בָּרָא עָלְמָא

for it is not the Torah that created the world.

אֶלָּא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בְּאִסְתַּכְּלוּתָא דְאוֹרַיְתָא בָּרָא עָלְמָא

Instead, the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world by looking into the Torah.”

עַד כַּאן תֹּכֶן דִּבּוּרוֹ לְעִנְיָנֵנוּ עַיֵּן שָׁם,

This portion of that passage is what is relevant to the concept at hand. Consult that source.

וְצָרִיךְ לְהָבִין

Explanation is required:

דְּמַשְׁמַע שֶׁבִּלְתִּי הַהִסְתַּכְּלוּת לֹא הָיָה בְּאֶפְשָׁרִי לִבְרוֹא חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

it appears that without looking into the Torah, G‑d would not have been able to create, Heaven forbid.

וַהֲלֹא הוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ שֶׁכּוֹתֵב הַתּוֹרָה

Now, He is both the One Who wrote the Torah

הוּא הַמִּסְתַּכֵּל אַחַר כָּךְ

and the One who looks into it afterwards.

וְלָמָּה יִצְרַךְ לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בְּמַה שֶּׁכָּתַב,

Why would He have to look into what He wrote in order to create?

וְהָעִנְיָן

The concept can be explained as follows:

כִּי נִתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק ד'

As explained in section 4,

שֶׁהִתְהַוּוּת הָרִבּוּי מִן הָאֶחָד הַפָּשׁוּט בָּרוּךְ הוּא

manifold entities could be brought into being from G‑d’s simple Oneness

הוּא מֵחֲמַת הֱיוֹת הַהֶאָרָה נִמְשֶׁכֶת עַל יְדֵי הַי' סְפִירוֹת

because the ray of His light was drawn down through the Ten Sefiros,

שֶׁהֵם כֵּלִים מִכֵּלִים שׁוֹנִים

which are different types of keilim.

וּלְפִי שִׁנּוּיֵי הַכֵּלִים

Thus, as light interacts with the keilim, the differences in the keilim

כָּךְ יִהְיוּ שִׁנּוּיֵי הַנִּפְעָלִים

will produce differences in the entities brought into being as a result.

וְשָׁם רָמַזְנוּ גַם כֵּן כִּי הִתְהַוּוּת י' כֵּלִים הַלָּלוּ בְּעַצְמָן

There, we also alluded to the idea that bringing these ten keilim into being –

שֶׁהֵם בְּחִינוֹת כֵּלִים שׁוֹנִים

since they are also diverse in nature –

מִן הָאַחְדּוּת הַפָּשׁוּט יִתְבָּרֵךְ

from G‑d’s simple Oneness

הָיָה גַם כֵּן עַל יְדֵי בְּחִינָה אֶמְצָעִית

also required an intermediary.

Since the keilim have defined and diverse identities, it is difficult to conceive how they can come into being from G‑d’s Oneness. An intermediary which can on one hand relate to the simplicity of the light, and on the other hand relate to the varied identities of the keilim, makes this possible.18

וְהוּא שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה לֹא נִמְשְׁכוּ כְּלָל בִּבְחִינַת י' כֵּלִים

For, at the outset, they were not drawn down as ten keilim,

אֶלָּא כְּלִי אֶחָד הַכְּלוּלָה מֵעֶשֶׂר

but as one k’li which comprised ten.

וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא עֲקֻדִּים

This is the level of Akudim,

שֶׁעֲקֻדִּים כֻּלָּם בִּכְלִי אֶחָד

i.e., that the Ten Sefiros are all bound (akudim) in one k’li

וְלֹא נִכָּר בּוֹ הִתְחַלְּקוּת כְּלָל לְעֶשֶׂר חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

and the distinctions between the Ten Sefiros are not noticeable, Heaven forbid.

אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ הַהִיּוּלִי כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּעֵץ חַיִּים

Instead, it is like the hyle19 for all ten, as explained in Etz Chayim.20

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר

In another source,21

גַּם כֵּן מָשָׁל לְזֶה מֵרֵאשִׁית יְרִידַת חַיּוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּאֵיבְרֵי הַגּוּף

an analogy also for this was given from the first stage of the descent of the life-force of the soul to enclothe itself in the limbs of the body,

טֶרֶם שֶׁמִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בִּפְרָטוּת הָאֵיבָרִים

before it enclothes itself in the individual limbs.

שֶׁאָז נִכְלָלִים בּוֹ כָּל הַכֹּחוֹת הַמְחֻלָּקִים שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ אַחַר כָּךְ כְּאֶחָד מַמָּשׁ

At this stage, it includes in complete oneness all of the powers that later will become distinct.

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלְּאַחַר כֵּן הֵם שׁוֹנִים זֶה מִזֶּה

Later, these powers differ from one another and produce different effects,

כְּמוֹ בַּמּוֹחַ קְרִירוּת וּבַלֵּב חֲמִימוּת

like coldness in the brain and warmth in the heart.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם בְּעוֹדָן בִּמְקוֹרָן אֵינָן מִמַּהוּת זֶה כְּלָל

Nevertheless, while these powers are in their source, they have not assumed these qualities at all

עַד שֶׁהָיוּ בִּבְחִינָה אַחַת מַמָּשׁ

and indeed are on one level.

וְכֵן נִתְהַוּוּ כֹּחַ הַי' כֵּלִים כְּלוּלִים בִּבְחִינָה אַחַת מַמָּשׁ,

Similarly, the potential for the ten keilim was brought into being as they are included on one level.

וְזֶהוּ הַנִּקְרָא עֶשֶׂר סְפִירוֹת דַּעֲקֻדִּים בִּלְשׁוֹן הָאֲרִיזַ"ל

This level is referred to by the AriZal as the Ten Sefiros of Akudim.22

וּבִלְשׁוֹן הָרְמַ"ק נִקְרְאוּ י' סְפִירוֹת הַגְּנוּזוֹת בְּמַאֲצִילָן

According to Ramak, they are referred to as the Ten Sefiros embedded23 in the Source of their emanation.

שֶׁהֵם שָׁרָשִׁים וּמְקוֹרִים לְי' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת

They are the root and source for the Ten Sefiros of Atzilus

וְנִקְרְאוּ צַחְצָחוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹן הַגְּאוֹנִים

and are referred to as tzachtzachos – literally, “radiant purity”– in the terminology employed by the Geonim.24

וּבָהֶם וְעַל יָדָם נִמְשָׁךְ מֵאֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא הַפָּשׁוּט

Through this level, influence is drawn down from the Ein Sof in its simplicity

לִהְיוֹת אַחַר כָּךְ י' סְפִירוֹת דִּנְקֻדִּים

to bring into being the Ten Sefiros of Nekudim

שֶׁהֵם י' כֵּלִים מַמָּשׁ

– on which level there are actually ten different keilim

Each Sefirah is manifest in a separate k’li. Nevertheless, the keilim are not interrelated (i.e., there is no dimension of Chessed integrated within Gevurah) and thus the Sefiros are still above the level in which they would be able to bring our world into existence in its present form.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ בִּבְרֻדִּים מִתְכַּלְלִים י' מִי'

and then the Ten Sefiros of Berudim in which each of the ten is interrelated with each of the others,

עַד אֵין קֵץ

producing an infinite number of subdivisions. This refers to the Sefiros as they exist in Atzilus.

וּמֵהֶם הִתְהַוּוּת רִבּוּי הַנִּבְרָאִים לְאֵין שִׁעוּר

From these Sefiros came into being an infinite multitude of created beings.

כִּי מֵחֶסֶד שֶׁבְּחֶסֶד שֶׁבְּחֶסֶד

For from the Chessed which is within Chessed which is within Chessed

יֻמְשַׁךְ מְצִיאוּת שׁוֹנִים מִן הַמְּצִיאוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מֵחֶסֶד שֶׁבְּחֶסֶד שֶׁבִּגְבוּרָה וְכוּ'

will be drawn down a different entity from that which is drawn down from the Chessed which is within Chessed which is within Gevurah.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר עַל פָּסוּק [הֲיֵשׁ מִסְפָּר לִגְדוּדָיו כוּ' (אִיּוֹב כ"ה ג')]

Similar concepts have been explained in another source25 with regard to the interpretation of the verse (Iyov 25:3): {“Is there a number to His legions?”}

וְלִגְדוּדָיו אֵין מִסְפָּר (חֲגִיגָה י"ג ב')

Our Sages (Chagigah 13b) note that Daniel 7:10 appears to speak about a finite number of angels. They resolve the discrepancy by explaining that the number of angels described in Daniel refers to only one legion of angels, but G‑d possesses an infinite number of legions.” Thus, there is no limit to the number of angels that exist.

Now, just as our Sages understand G‑d as possessing an infinite number of legions of angels, so, too, we can understand that He possesses an infinite number of attributes.

יְעֻיַּן שָׁם,

Consult that source.

וְהִנֵּה י' סְפִירוֹת דַּעֲקֻדִּים הַלָּלוּ

These Ten Sefiros of Akudim

הֵם נִמְשָׁכִים מֵאֹזֶן חֹטֶם פֶּה דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

are drawn down from the ear, nose, and mouth of Adam Kadmon,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּעֵץ חַיִּים

as explained in Etz Chayim.

וְנִמְצָא שֶׁבְּחִינַת אֹזֶן חֹטֶם פֶּה דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן הוּא הַמְמֻצָּע בֵּין אֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Thus, the ear, nose, and mouth of Adam Kadmon serve as an intermediary between the Ein Sof

שֶׁהוּא פָּשׁוּט בְּתַכְלִית הַפְּשִׁיטוּת

which is simple in the ultimate of simplicity

וְלַאו מִכָּל אִנּוּן מִדּוֹת אִיהוּ כְּלָל

and which “is not any of these attributes at all”26

לְי' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת

and the Ten Sefiros of Atzilus

שֶׁהֵם כֵּלִים שׁוֹנִים כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

which involve different keilim, as explained above.

An intermediary is necessary because the simplicity of the Ein Sof is so far above the Ten Sefiros that there is no way they could come into existence from it. Hence, it is necessary that there be an intermediary which is simple on one hand – for otherwise it would not be a fit medium for the power of the Ein Sof – and yet, its simplicity not be entirely transcendent like that of the Ein Sof. The simplicity of Adam Kadmon bridges the gap between these two opposites and enables limited existence (the Ten Sefiros) to be brought into being from the Ein Sof.

כִּי הוּא בְּחִינָה כְּלָלִית

The ear, nose, and mouth of Adam Kadmon represent a general quality

שֶׁכּוֹלֵל הַי' סְפִירוֹת כְּאֶחָד

that includes all Ten Sefiros as one.

וְעַל יָדוֹ נִמְשָׁךְ מֵאֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא הִתְהַוּוּת י' סְפִירוֹת

Through it, the Ten Sefiros are drawn down and brought into being from the Ein Sof.

וּבֵאוּר עִנְיָנוֹ הַיְנוּ

This concept can be explained

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרְמַ"ק בְּשַׁעַר י"א פֶּרֶק ג' בְּבֵאוּר עִנְיַן ג' הַצַּחְצָחוֹת

according to the statements of Ramak in the Pardes, sec. 11, ch. 3, in his elucidation of the concept of the three tzachtzachos

(שֶׁהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים הַגְּנוּזוֹת לְדַעְתּוֹ

(which are called the genuzos {embedded ones}, according to his understanding,

שֶׁהֵם גְּנוּזוֹת בְּעַצְמוּת מַמָּשׁ

for they are embedded in the Essence itself.

וּלְפִי מַה שֶּׁכָּתַב הָאֲרִיזַ"ל הוּא בִּבְחִינַת אֹזֶן חֹטֶם פֶּה דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן בִּלְבָד

According to the AriZal, however, the three tzachtzachos represent merely the ear, nose, and mouth of Adam Kadmon,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר)

as will be explained.)

וְזֶה לְשׁוֹנוֹ

The following is the wording of Ramak:

לְבָאֵר הָעִנְיָן ג' נֶעֱלָמוֹת אֵלּוּ בֵּאוּר יָפֶה

To explain the concept of these three hidden levels in a clear manner

יִתְיַשֵּׁב בְּשֵׂכֶל הַמַּשְׂכִּיל

that can be grasped comfortably within the mind of a thinker:

וְהָעִנְיָן

One’s initial conception must be that

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתָיו מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵינוּ וְלֹא דְרָכָיו דְרָכֵינוּ

“His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.”

כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר יְדַמֶּה הָאָדָם בְּשִׂכְלוֹ לְהַוּוֹת אֵיזוֹ מְצִיאוּת שֶׁיִּהְיֶה

When a person uses his imagination to try to create within his imagination any particular entity,

הִנֵּה מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ לֹא תַפְעִיל

his thought will not have any effect.

וְאַף אִם יְדַמֶּה וִיצַיֵּר בְּשִׂכְלוֹ צוּרַת הַמְּצִיאוּת אֲשֶׁר בִּרְצוֹנוֹ לְהַוּוֹת

Even if he were to imagine and picture in his mind the form of the entity that he desires to bring into being,

עִם כָּל זֶה הָיָה כְּלֹא הָיָה עַד יִפְעַל וְיֵצֵא לְפֹעַל

nothing will happen until he takes action by going out and performing an activity.

וְנִמְצָא הַפֹּעַל שָׁלֵם מֵהַכֹּחַ

Thus, the actual reality is more complete than the potential,

כִּי הַכֹּחַ חָסֵר הַמְּצִיאוּת

for the potential is lacking concrete existence.

וְאֵין לוֹ מְצִיאוּת וּשְׁלֵמוּת כְּלָל

Indeed, it has no concrete existence and fulfillment at all.

וְהַפֹּעַל הוּא הָעִקָּר וְהַמְּצִיאוּת

It is the actual reality that is fundamentally important and represents substantial existence.

וְזוּלָתוֹ אֵין דָּבָר

Aside from it, there is nothing.

וְאֵין כֵּן פְּעֻלָּתוֹ וַהֲוִיָּתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא

This is not the manner in which the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, acts and brings entities into being.

כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר עָלָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ לְהַוּוֹת וּלְהַאֲצִיל

Because when it arose in His will to bring into being and emanate

אֲצִילוּת הַטָּהוֹר וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ

the pure and holy realm of Atzilus,

אָז נֶאֱצַל וְנִצְטַיֵּר כֻּלּוֹ בְּעַצְמוּתוֹ

it emanated forth and was completely formed in His Essence

בְּלִי שִׁנּוּי בּוֹ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

without bringing about any change within Him, Heaven forbid.

אֶלָּא מְצִיאוּת מִתְיַחֵד עִמּוֹ

Instead, its existence was unified with Him

עַד שֶׁאֵין בֵּין הַמַּאֲצִיל וְהַמְּצִיאוּת הַהוּא הֶבְדֵּל כְּלָל

until there was no difference or distinction at all between the Source of emanation and this existence.

אֶלָּא הוּא וְהֵם הַכֹּל דָּבָר אֶחָד

Instead, He and they are all one entity,

וְעֶצֶם אֶחָד וְשֹׁרֶשׁ אֶחָד

one essence, and one root.

וְאַף אִם נְיַחֵס הָאֲצִילוּת הַהוּא אֶל בְּחִינוֹת הַג' כַּאֲשֶׁר נְבָאֵר

Even if Atzilus were to be associated with the three levels which will be explained

שֶׁהֵם אוֹר קַדְמוֹן צַח וּמְצֻחְצָח

Or Kadmon, Or Tzach, and OrMetzuchtzach –

אֵין בְּחִינַת חִלּוּקָם בְּעֶרֶךְ עַצְמוּתָם

these three levels are not distinct in relation to their essence,

אֶלָּא בְּעֶרֶךְ בְּחִינוֹת עַנְפֵיהֶם

only in relation to their branches,

שֶׁהֵם הַסְּפִירוֹת

i.e., the Sefiros,

הַמִּתְפַּשְּׁטוֹת וּמִתְאַצְּלוֹת כוּ'

that extend forth and emanate from them.

עַד כַּאן לְשׁוֹנוֹ לְעִנְיָנֵנוּ,

This is what is relevant to our discussion.

וּבֵאוּר דְּבָרָיו מוּבָן

In explanation, from his statements it is understood that:

שֶׁבְּחִינַת עֲלוֹת הָרָצוֹן לְפָנָיו בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַוּוֹת י' סְפִירוֹת

The arousal of G‑d’s will to bring into being the Ten Sefiros

הֲרֵי בֶּאֱמֶת הוּא רָצוֹן אֶחָד מְיֻחָד

is in truth one unified will.

There are not ten different desires to bring the Ten Sefiros into being, but one general will to bring them all into existence.

וְאֵינוֹ מִמַּהוּת י' סְפִירוֹת הַגְּלוּיִם

It is not of the same nature as the ten revealed Sefiros,

עִם שֶׁהוּא הִתְהַוּוּת שֹׁרֶשׁ הַי' סְפִירוֹת מַמָּשׁ

even though it brings into being the source of these Ten Sefiros.

וְהַיְנוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל בְּעִנְיַן הָעֲקֻדִּים

This fits the explanation given above with regard to the Akudim,

שֶׁהֵם כְּלִי אֶחָד,

that all Ten Sefiros are included in one k’li.

Just as there is one k’li that contains all Ten Sefiros, there is one will that contains the desire for all Ten Sefiros and everything brought into being from those Sefiros, as the Tzemach Tzedek proceeds to explain.

וְלִהְיוֹת כִּי מִי' סְפִירוֹת נִתְהַוּוּ כָּל הָעוֹלָמוֹת וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם

Since all the worlds and everything contained within them were brought into being from the Ten Sefiros,

הֲרֵי מוּבָן שֶׁבָּרָצוֹן הַהוּא שֹׁרֶשׁ הַי' סְפִירוֹת

it follows that within the desire in which the Ten Sefiros are rooted

נִשְׁרְשׁוּ גַם כֵּן כָּל פְּרָטֵי הַנִּבְרָאִים שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם

are also rooted all the particular created beings in the world

שֶׁנִּמְשְׁכוּ מִי' סְפִירוֹת

that were drawn down from these Ten Sefiros.

This will is the source for the Ten Sefiros. As such, it is also the source for all the particular created beings that come into existence as a result of them.

שֶׁכֻּלָּם עָלוּ בִּרְצוֹנוֹ לְהַוּוֹת

For it arose in His will to bring all of them into being,

וְכֻלָּם נִתְהַוּוּ מַמָּשׁ עַל יְדֵי רָצוֹן זֶה

and they all actually came into being from this will.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיוּ כְּלוּלִים יַחַד בִּבְחִינָה אַחַת

Nevertheless, on this initial level, they were all integrated as one unit.

לְמָשָׁל

To explain by analogy:

כְּשֶׁאָדָם עוֹלֶה בְּדַעְתּוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִנְיָן אֶחָד שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ כַּמָּה מַעֲשִׂיּוֹת

When it arises in a person’s mind to perform an activity that involves several deeds,

מִכָּל מָקוֹם הָרָצוֹן וְהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה הַהִיא אַחַת הִיא

despite the fact that he will carry out different acts, there is one will and one thought motivating him

וְכוֹלֶלֶת כֻּלָּם,

and it includes all these actions.

וְזֶה סוֹד מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בְּעֵץ חַיִּים שֶׁרַגְלֵי אָדָם קַדְמוֹן מִסְתַּיְּמִים בְּסִיּוּם הָעֲשִׂיָּה

This is the mystic secret implied by the statement in theEtz Chayim27 that the “feet” of Adam Kadmon extend until the final levels of Asiyah.

Adam Kadmon represents G‑d’s will to create, and that will encompasses all the particular created beings that later come into existence.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּחִינַת אֲצִילוּת שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לִבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה יֵשׁ פַּרְסָא,

In contrast, between Atzilus and the three worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, there is a parsa, a spiritual divider that prevents the influence of Atzilus from descending to the lower worlds in a direct manner.

The Tzemach Tzedek is underscoring that the influence of Atzilus is self-contained and is not expressed in the lower worlds as it is. There is, by contrast, no such divider separating Adam Kadmon from the levels below it.

לִהְיוֹת כִּי אָדָם קַדְמוֹן הוּא הָאוֹר כְּלָלִי

Since Adam Kadmon is a general light

הַכּוֹלֵל כָּל הַהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת כְּאֶחָד

that includes all the Spiritual Cosmos (hishtalshelus) as one,

עַל כֵּן רַגְלֵי אָדָם קַדְמוֹן

accordingly, the “feet” of Adam Kadmon

הַיְנוּ הֱיוֹתוֹ כּוֹלֵל לִבְחִינַת עֲשִׂיָּה

– since they include everything, even the level of Asiyah

מַגִּיעַ עַד הָעֲשִׂיָּה

reach Asiyah.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן הָאֲצִילוּת הוּא פְּרָט אֶחָד

In contrast, Atzilus is one particular level,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָעֲשִׂיָּה פְּרָט אֶחָד

as is Asiyah, and hence, one does not include the other.

וְדַי לַמֵּבִין:

This is sufficient for a person of understanding.

וְהִנֵּה מְבֹאָר לְמַעְלָה דִּבְחִינַת הִתְכַּלְלוּת זוֹ

It has been explained above that this inclusive dimension that encompasses all existence

הוּא בִּבְחִינַת אֹזֶן חֹטֶם פֶּה דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

refers to the ear, nose, and mouth of Adam Kadmon,

שֶׁהֵם כֵּלִים חִיצוֹנִים שֶׁבּוֹ

i.e., the external dimension of the keilim within it.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן פְּנִימִיּוּתוֹ הוּא בְּחִינַת הַקַּו מֵאֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Its inner dimension, the kav that extends from G‑d’s infinite light,

הַפָּשׁוּט בְּתַכְלִית

is on an even higher plane. It is utterly simple

וְאֵינוֹ בְּעֶרֶךְ אֲפִלּוּ לִהְיוֹת נִקְרָא אוֹר כְּלָלִי

and is not even on the level that can be referred to as a general light.

כִּי הֲרֵי הַכְּלָל הוּא מֵעֵין הַפְּרָט

For the general category is representative of the particulars,

וְאֵין בִּפְרָט אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁבִּכְלָל

and the particulars do not contain anything that is not comprised in the general category.28

The Tzemach Tzedek is implying that the general light that serves as the source for all existence is not of a totally different nature from those particular levels of existence.

וְאוֹר אֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַאו מִכָּל אִנּוּן מִדּוֹת אִיהוּ כְּלָל

G‑d’s infinite light, by contrast, “is not any of these attributes at all.”29

וְלָכֵן בְּחִינַת הָרָצוֹן הַזֶּה שֶׁכָּתַב הָרְמַ"ק הוּא בֶּאֱמֶת

Therefore, in truth, the attribute of will described by Ramak

נֶאֱצָל גַּם כֵּן לְאַחַר הַצִּמְצוּם

also emanated forth after the tzimtzum,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב לְמַעְלָה בְּשֵׁם הָאֲרִיזַ"ל,

as stated above in the name of the AriZal.30

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתַב הַזֹּהַר

On this basis, we can appreciate the precision of the wording of the Zohar’s statement31

קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא אִסְתַּכֵּל בְּאוֹרַיְתָא וּבָרָא עָלְמָא,

that “the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world.”

אִסְתַּכֵּל דַּוְקָא שֶׁהוּא מִבְּחִינַת עֵינַיִם דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

The term “looked” refers to the “eyes” of Adam Kadmon

שֶׁמִּבְּחִינַת כֵּלִים הַחִיצוֹנִים דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

that stem from the external dimension of the keilim of Adam Kadmon

שֶׁנִּקְרָא אוֹר כְּלָלִי

which is called the general light for all existence.

וְשָׁם הוּא שֹׁרֶשׁ הַתּוֹרָה

There, i.e., within the general light, is the source of the Torah

שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת מְשַׁל הַקַּדְמוֹנִי

which is called32 “the primeval analogy,”

Chassidus33 explains this term as follows: The Torah exists on many levels simultaneously, from the highest levels of G‑dly light to the Torah we possess, which speaks of material entities. Each lower level is a mere “analogy” for the higher truth on the more refined levels.

כִּי הִיא מִבְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּת חָכְמָה וּבִינָה דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

for it comes from the external dimensions of Chochmah and Binah of Adam Kadmon,

כַּמַּאֲמָר נוֹבְלוֹת חָכְמָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה תּוֹרָה (בְּרֵאשִׁית רַבָּה י"ז)

as implied by our Sages’ statement (Bereishis Rabbah 17:5): “The aftergrowth of the sublime wisdom is the Torah.”

The implication is that “Torah,” i.e., the revealed dimensions of the Torah, is the product of a higher dimension of wisdom which remains concealed and hidden.

הִנֵּה בָּהּ וְעַל יָדָהּ הָאוֹר אֵין סוֹף מְהַוֶּה הָעוֹלָם

The Torah then serves as a medium through which G‑d’s infinite light creates the world.

שֶׁעַל יְדֵי הַכְּלָל נִמְשָׁךְ אַחַר כָּךְ בַּפְּרָט

For, afterwards, the particulars – each individual element of existence – are drawn down from the general category, i.e., the world as it exists in the Torah.

וְלַאו דְּאוֹרַיְתָא בָּרָא עָלְמָא

The Zohar emphasizes that “It was not the Torah that created the world,”

פֵּרוּשׁ לֹא שֶׁהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה עַצְמָהּ בּוֹרֵא חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

i.e., this general thought that there be a world – i.e., the Torah’s conception of existence – did not create, Heaven forbid.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהָאֵין סוֹף בּוֹרֵא הַפְּרָטִים עַל יְדֵי הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה הַכְּלָלִית

Instead, the Ein Sof created the particulars through this general thought.

The general thought revealed in the Torah provided the blueprint for creation. However, it was necessary that there be an active source of creative energy that emanated from the Ein Sof to bring the particular levels of existence out from this general source.

בְּאוֹרַיְתָא כְּתִיב וַיְהִי אוֹר

The Zohar continues, explaining the dynamic: “In the Torah, it is written: ‘Let there be light.’ ”

הַיְנוּ מְצִיאַת הָאוֹר שֶׁהָיָה כָּלוּל בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה כְּלָלִית הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל

This represents the existence of the light as it was included in this general thought.

אִסְתַּכֵּל בּוֹ

G‑d “looked – generated creative energy – into it” – the Torah –

וְהִמְשִׁיכוֹ לָבֹא לִידֵי גִלּוּי בִּבְרִיאַת אוֹר פְּרָטִי כוּ'

and brought it into revelation, bringing about the creation of a particular light.

וְלָכֵן בַּר נַשׁ דְּעָסִיק בְּאוֹרַיְתָא מְקַיֵּם עָלְמָא

Following this same pattern, a person who occupies himself in Torah study maintains the world.

כִּי עַל יְדֵי דִבּוּרוֹ בַּתּוֹרָה בְּכָל פְּרָט

For through speaking the words of the Torah regarding every particular dimension of existence,

גּוֹרֵם הַמְשָׁכַת הָאוֹר וְחַיּוּת מֵאֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא

he causes light and life-energy to be drawn down from the Ein Sof,

עַל יְדֵי הַכְּלָל אֶל הַפְּרָט

enabling influence to be drawn down from the general light to the particulars.

וְזֶה סוֹד דִּבְּרוּ חֲכָמִים בְּהֹוֶה (שַׁבָּת ס"ה א')

This is the mystic secret implied by our Sages’ statement, (Shabbos 65a): “Our Sages spoke regarding everyday events.”

שֶׁהַדִּבּוּר שֶׁל חֲכָמִים בְּח' שְׁרָצִים עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל

Implied is that when our Sages spoke about crawling animals, for example

שֶׁהַחוֹבֵל בָּהֶן חַיָּב

stating34 that one who injures them on Shabbos is liable35

הוּא הַמְהַוֶּה אוֹתָן וְשָׁרְשָׁן

this brings them and their source into being.

Since the Torah conveys the creative energy for all existence, when a particular entity is mentioned in a discussion of Torah law, that particular entity receives its vitality.

וְכֵן בְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה

This is true with regard to all the subjects mentioned in the Torah,

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר,

as explained in another source.36

וְנִמְצָא מוּבָן מִזֶּה שֶׁסֵּדֶר הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת הוּא בִּבְחִינַת כְּלָל וּפְרָט

From the above, it is understood that the order of the chainlike progression of the Spiritual Cosmos follows the pattern of influence drawn down from a general category to its particulars

כְּדֵי לִהְיוֹת הִתְהַוּוּת פְּרָטֵי הַנִּמְצָאִים מֵאֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא

in order to bring into being all the individual existing entities from the Ein Sof,

שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִן הַכְּלָל גַּם כֵּן כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

which is far above even the general category, as explained above.

וְהַכְּלָל הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא בְּחִינַת אָדָם קַדְמוֹן

The first general category is Adam Kadmon.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִפְרְטוּ י' סְפִירוֹת דִּנְקֻדִּים

Afterwards, the particular levels come into being, beginning with the Ten Sefiros of the Nekudim.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִפְרְטוּ בִּבְרֻדִּים

After this, the influence is drawn down further into particulars, bringing into being the Berudim,

לִהְיוֹת מְצִיאִיּוֹת רַבּוֹת בַּסְּפִירוֹת

where many different forms exist within the Sefiros

עַל יְדֵי הִתְכַּלְלוּתָם זֶה מִזֶּה

due to their interrelation.

וְכָל אֶחָד בְּחִינַת כְּלָל

Each one of these Sefiros serves as a general quality

לְגַבֵּי פְּרָטֵי הַנִּבְרָאִים

with regard to all of the particular created beings

שֶׁיֻּמְשַׁךְ מִכָּל מְצִיאוּת סְפִירָה בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

that are drawn down from that Sefirah in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.

כְּמוֹ מֵחֶסֶד נִמְשָׁךְ מַחֲנֵה מִיכָאֵל ק"פ אֶלֶף

For example, from the attribute of Chessed is drawn down the camp of the archangel Michael – the archangel of love, whose source is Chessed – which comprises 180,000 angels.37

הֲרֵי הַחֶסֶד הוּא בְּחִינַת כְּלָל

Thus, Chessed is the general category

לְגַבֵּי פְּרָטֵי הַנִּבְרָאִים הָהֵם,

for all these particular created beings.

וְכָל מַה שֶּׁנִּמְשָׁךְ יוֹתֵר לְמַטָּה הוּא בָּא בִּבְחִינַת הִתְחַלְּקוּת יוֹתֵר

As the vitality is drawn down lower, it is expressed in even more particular levels.

וְעִם כָּל זֶה אֵין בִּפְרָט אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁבִּכְלָל

Nevertheless, “there is nothing in the particular levels that does not exist in the general category,”28

דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁהַפְּרָט אֵינוֹ הִתְחַדְּשׁוּת לְגַבֵּי הַכְּלָל

for the particular levels do not contribute a new dimension that did not exist within the general category.

אֶלָּא רַק מַה שֶּׁבָּא בְּהִתְחַלְּקוּת פְּרָטִיּוֹת

Instead, the particular dimensions that were not revealed in the general category came into expression.

וּלְעוֹלָם גַּם בְּהַכְּלָל נִמְצְאוּ כָּל הַפְּרָטִים

In a hidden manner, however, all of these particulars existed within the general category,

אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיוּ בְּהִתְכַּלְלוּת

but they were included within it in a manner that did not allow expression of their individual qualities.

כְּמוֹ הַמִּשְׁנָה לְגַבֵּי הַגְּמָרָא

To cite an example, the relationship between the Mishnah and the Gemara:

שֶׁכָּל פְּרָטֵי הַדִּקְדּוּקִים שֶׁבַּגְּמָרָא נִכְלְלוּ בַּכְּלָל שֶׁבַּמִּשְׁנָה

All of the particular insights developed by the Gemara are included in the general presentation of the idea by the Mishnah,

וּכְמַאֲמַר אִילְפָא מִי אִיכָּא מִידֵּי דְּשָׁאִיל לִי וְלָא פָּשִׁיטְנָא לֵיהּ מִמַּתְנִיתִין (תַּעֲנִית כ"א)

as Ilfa said (Taanis 21a): “Is there anything that you can ask me from a beraisa38 that I cannot resolve through a mishnah?”

וְכֵן מַאֲמַר יַנּוּקָא דְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ (שָׁם ט')

Or to cite another example, the child of Reish Lakish said (ibid., 9a):

מִי אִיכָּא מִידֵּי דִּכְתִיבֵי בִּכְתוּבֵי וְלָא רְמִיזֵי בְּאוֹרַיְתָא כוּ'

“Is there anything that is written in Scripture that is not alluded to in the Torah?”

Both these examples reflect how there exists a general category, which is later manifest in more particular expressions.

וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל שֶׁהַכְּלָל הָרִאשׁוֹן הוּא אָדָם קַדְמוֹן

To apply these concepts to the issue at hand: The first general category is Adam Kadmon,

שֶׁהָיָה כּוֹלֵל כֻּלָּם הוּא בְּחִינָה אַחַת

which includes all existence as one.

וְהָרַב הַמַּגִּיד זַ"ל קְרָאוֹ אוֹר כְּלָלִי

The Maggid of Mezritch referred to it as a general light.

וּמִמֶּנּוּ נִמְשָׁךְ אַחַר כָּךְ בִּפְרָטוּת

From it are drawn down afterwards all the particular levels of existence.

וְזֶה סוֹד קוֹרֵא הַדּוֹרוֹת מֵרֹאשׁ (יְשַׁעְיָה מ"א ד')

This is the mystical secret implied by the verse (Yeshayahu 41:4): “He called forth the generations from the beginning.”39

פֵּרוּשׁ רֹאשׁ הוּא בְּחִינַת אָדָם קַדְמוֹן

“The beginning” refers to Adam Kadmon;

וְהַדּוֹרוֹת הֵן כָּל הַסֵּדֶר שֶׁל הַהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת־ בְּרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

“the generations” to the entire order of spiritual existence of Atzilus, Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah,

שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ מִמֶּנּוּ לָבֹא לִידֵי גִלּוּי מֵהַהֶעְלֵם

which were called forth from it to come into revelation from a hidden state.

כְּמִי שֶׁאוֹמֵר רְאוּבֵן בֹּא לְכַאן

It is like someone calling to a friend, Reuven, come here,”

שֶׁמְּצִיאוּתוֹ שֶׁל רְאוּבֵן הָיָה כְּבָר

i.e., Reuven already existed

אֶלָּא שֶׁבִּקְרִיאָה זוֹ נֶעְתָּק מִמְּקוֹמוֹ לָבֹא לְכַאן

and calling him in this manner causes him to move from his place and come to the place to which he is called.

כָּךְ כָּל הַדּוֹרוֹת

Similarly, all of “the generations,” i.e., the entities to be created,

הָיָה בְּרֹאשׁ בְּחִינַת אָדָם קַדְמוֹן אוֹר כְּלָלִי

existed in “the beginning,” i.e., the level of Adam Kadmon, which is a general light.

שֶׁהוּא עִנְיַן הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה הַקְּדוּמָה

Adam Kadmon is identified with the primeval thought of creation

שֶׁצּוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט עַד סוֹף כָּל הַדּוֹרוֹת

in which G‑d gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time.40

שֶׁבְּמַחֲשָׁבָה זוֹ נִתְהַוּוּ כֻלָּם

Through this thought, all existence came into being.

It is not that He “gazed at and surveyed” an existing entity. Instead, through this gaze, all existence came about.

(וְלָכֵן אָמַר הָרַמְבַּ"ם שֶׁהַמְּצִיאוּת שֶׁל הַנִּבְרָאִים הַנִּרְאֶה לָנוּ אֵינוֹ אֲמִתַּת מַהוּתָן

(Therefore, Rambam says41 that the existence of the created beings perceived by us is not their true essence.

אֶלָּא מִקְרֶה אֲשֶׁר קָרָה לוֹ

Instead, their material form is incidental

That term should not be construed as implying that the actual form of the existence of the created beings is merely a function of chance, but rather that its true existence is its spiritual vitality and intent and that its material form is of secondary importance.

מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהַמְּצִיאוּת אֲמִתִּי שֶׁלּוֹ הוּא בְּעוֹדוֹ בְּמַחֲשֶׁבֶת הַבּוֹרֵא יִתְבָּרֵךְ

because their true existence is their existence in the thought of the Creator,

וְרוֹצֶה לוֹמַר בִּבְחִינַת אוֹר כְּלָלִי הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

i.e., in the general light mentioned above

שֶׁנִּקְרָא מַחֲשָׁבָה הַקְּדוּמָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

which is called the primeval thought, as explained above,

וְנִקְרָא צַחְצָחוֹת וְי' סְפִירוֹת הַגְּנוּזוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹן הַפַּרְדֵּס):

and also called tzachtzachos and the ten embedded sefiros in the terminology of the Pardes.)



Synopsis

This section explains the Fourth Fundamental Principle of Faith mentioned by Rambam: that G‑d is kadmon (lit., “first”); i.e., His existence does not have a beginning in time. This cannot be said about anything else. Every other entity has a beginning in time; i.e., the moment it was brought from a state of non-being into being.

The description of Him as kadmon does not merely refer to chronological precedence, i.e., that He existed before the world. Instead, the intent is that He exists before – and independent of – everything, even time, for time is also one of His creations and therefore was brought into being from G‑d Who existed before it.

The Tzemach Tzedek then continues, describing the nature of the limitations of time, stating that time is a composite of limited units. Since every one of these larger units is comprised of smaller units, it is impossible to say that an infinite amount of time passed. For it is impossible to gather many limited units until one amasses something unlimited; limitation can never produce something unlimited.

Since time is limited, then – as is true with the creation of every limited being – it was preceded by non-existence. As such, before time came into being, there would have to have been a state of existence in which there was no time at all. Only G‑d is independent of time.

The Tzemach Tzedek notes that our Sages state: “The order of time existed before Creation,” but explains that there is a difference between time and “the order of time.” The “order of time” is also a creation that came into existence from a state of non-being. Although it preceded the actual creation of the world – existing when time as we know it did not exist – it is closer to the concept of time than the timelessness we ascribe to G‑d.

The Tzemach Tzedek will complete the explanation of this concept in Section 12. He now proceeds to give the background for this explanation, referring to section 4 which states that the reason countless different types of entities could be brought into being from G‑d’s simple Oneness is that after the tzimtzum, the ray of His light was drawn down into the Ten Sefiros. The interaction between the light and the different types of keilim brings about the various types of created beings. Now, bringing these ten keilim into being from G‑d’s simple Oneness also requires an intermediary, one which can, on one hand, relate to the simplicity of G‑d’s light and on the other hand, relate to the varied identities of the keilim.

This enables us to understand the Zohar’s statement that G‑d “looked into the Torah and created the world.” The Torah is identified with Adam Kadmon, which represents the primeval thought of Creation in which G‑d gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time. It contains within itself the potential for every element of existence, like a general conception of a project that includes all the details that will later emerge. When G‑d “looks into the Torah,” He shines G‑dly light into the Torah, enabling the particular elements of the world to come into existence.

The order of the downward progression of the Spiritual Cosmos follows the pattern in which particular entities are drawn down from a general category, in a progression in which the particular entity on a higher level becomes the general category for the particular entities at the level below it.

This concept is illustrated in the relationship between the Mishnah and the Gemara. All of the particular insights developed in the Gemara are included in the general presentation of the idea by the Mishnah, as Ilfa said (Taanis 21a): “Is there anything that you can ask me from a beraisa that I cannot resolve through a mishnah?” Or to cite another example, it is said (ibid. 9a): “Is there anything that is written in Scripture that is not alluded to in the Torah?”

To apply these concepts to the analogue: The most elevated general category in the spiritual realms is Adam Kadmon, which includes all existence as one. From it are drawn down afterwards all the particular levels of existence. Adam Kadmon is thus identified with the primeval thought of Creation in which G‑d gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time.