Time is revealed in a sequence in which higher levels of existence include several units of time as one, following a pattern similar to that of particular entities which come into being from a general category. The existence of time is relevant only to mortals. With regard to G‑d, by contrast, it is said: “You were the same before the world was created and You are the same after the world has been created.”



(יב)

– XII –

וְעַתָּה יוּבַן גַּם כֵּן

Now, we can also gain a more thorough under- standing

בְּעִנְיַן הִתְהַוּוּת הַזְּמַן מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

of how time comes into being from G‑d

שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִן הַזְּמַן לְגַמְרֵי

Who is totally above time,

וַאֲפִלּוּ מִן הַמֶּשֶׁךְ הַבִּלְתִּי מְשֻׁעָר כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

even above the concept of an unlimited span of time, as mentioned above,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרְמַ"ע

as stated by Rema.1

אֶלָּא הוּא בִּבְחִינַת הֹוֶה תָּמִיד

Instead, He always was and always continues to exist;

עַיֵּן תּוֹסְפוֹת יוֹם טוֹב בְּאָבוֹת פֶּרֶק ה',

see the gloss of Tosfos Yom Tov to Avos, ch. 5:6.

וְהִתְהַוּוּתוֹ הוּא גַם כֵּן בִּבְחִינַת כְּלָל וּפְרָט

The manner in which time comes into being also follows the same pattern as that of particular entities coming into being from a general category.2

עַל דֶּרֶךְ הִתְהַוּוּת הָרִבּוּי מִן הָאַחְדּוּת,

It is like many individual entities coming into being from oneness.

שֶׁהִתְחַלְּקוּת הַזְּמַן הוּא רִבּוּי חֲלָקִים גְּבוּלִיִּים

For time is also divided into many limited units,

עַל דֶּרֶךְ רִבּוּי הַנִּמְצָאִים בַּעֲלֵי גְבוּל,

like the entire multitude of limited entities.

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינַת אוֹר כְּלָלִי שֶׁכּוֹלֵל כֻּלָּם כְּאֶחָד

There is a general light that includes all the particular created beings as one

וּכְמוֹ כֵן כּוֹלֵל כָּל חֶלְקֵי הַזְּמַן כְּאֶחָד מַמָּשׁ

and this same light also includes all the units of time as one.

וְזֶהוּ בְּחִינַת צוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט עַד סוֹף כָּל הַדּוֹרוֹת בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת,

This is the level at which G‑d “gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time”3 in one glance.4

שֶׁסְּקִירָה אַחַת כּוֹלֶלֶת כָּל הַזְּמַן דְּשִׁית אַלְפֵי שְׁנֵי כְּאֶחָד,

This one glance includes the entire span of the six millennia of the world’s existence as one.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְשָׁךְ מִסְּקִירָה זוֹ בְּהִתְחַלְּקוּת לְכַמָּה בְּחִינוֹת

Afterwards,5 from this glance, there is a division into several lesser units, each representing a different emotional attribute and

וְכָל בְּחִינָה כּוֹלֶלֶת זְמַן רַב

each one including a large span of time,

אַךְ לֹא כָּל הַזְּמַן דְּשִׁית אַלְפֵי שְׁנֵי

but not the entire span of six millennia.

וּבִבְחִינוֹת אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמַר כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל (תִּלִּים צ' ד').

With regard to these divisions, it is said (Tehillim 90:4): “For 1,000 years are like yesterday in Your eyes.”

שֶׁבְּחִינָה אַחַת הַנִּקְרֵאת יוֹם כּוֹלֶלֶת זְמַן אֶלֶף שָׁנָה בְּבַת אַחַת,

For each of these divisions, referred to as “days,” includes a millennium as one. These days are identified with the Seven Middos of Atzilus.6

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מִתְחַלְּקִים לַחֲלָקִים

Afterwards, these lesser levels of light divide into even smaller units,

שֶׁכָּל חֵלֶק גַּם הוּא כּוֹלֵל זְמַן רַב

with each unit also including a long span of time,

אַךְ פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה

but less than the previous level.

וְהוּא עִנְיַן רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה

An example of this process is Rosh HaShanah

שֶׁבּוֹ בַיּוֹם נִמְשָׁךְ בְּחִינָה אַחַת שֶׁכּוֹלֶלֶת כָּל הַזְּמַן דְּשס"ה יְמֵי הַשָּׁנָה בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת,

on which is drawn down one unit that includes the entire span of 365 days of the year in one glance.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מִתְחַלֵּק לְי"ב רָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים

Afterwards, the light is divided into twelve Rashei Chodashim,

שֶׁרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ כּוֹלֵל הַזְּמַן דְּל' יוֹם

with each Rosh Chodesh including the span of 30 days.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ לְיָמִים

Afterwards, it is divided into days

וְאַחַר כָּךְ לְשָׁעוֹת

and then hours.

הֵם צֵרוּפֵי הֲוָיָ' וְאַדְ'

The latter are identified with the different forms of G‑d’s names Havayah and A-donai.7

שֶׁכְּלָלוּת הַצֵּרוּף כּוֹלֵל כָּל הָרְגָעִים שֶׁל הַשָּׁעָה בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת

Each of these forms includes all the minutes of the hour in one glance.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מִתְחַלֵּק לִרְגָעִים

Afterwards, the Divine light is divided into moments.8

וְהוּא הַזְּמַן הַיּוֹתֵר אַחֲרוֹן,

This is the smallest unit of time.

וּבֵאוּר הָעִנְיָן אֵיךְ יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת הַזְּמַן נִכְלָל הַרְבֵּה בְּבַת אַחַת,

The explanation of the concept that many units of time can be included together as one

הוּא עַל פִּי מַה שֶּׁהִקְדַּמְנוּ לְמַעְלָה

can be understood on the basis of the concept explained previously,

שֶׁעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְמַעְלָה מִן הַזְּמַן לְגַמְרֵי

that G‑d’s Essence is entirely above time.

אֶלָּא בִּבְחִינַת הֹוֶה תָּמִיד,

Instead, He exists continuously.

וַהֲוָיַת שֹׁרֶשׁ הַזְּמַן הוּא מֵחֲמַת צִמְצוּם וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת שֶׁהָיָה בְּהַתְחָלַת בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם

The existence of the concept of time came about as a result of the contraction and expansion of G‑d’s light that took place in the beginning of the creation of the world,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק ו'

as explained in section 6.

וְנִקְרָא זֶה מָטֵי וְלֹא מָטֵי בְּכִתְבֵי אֲרִיזַ"ל

This pattern is referred to in the writings of the AriZal as mati velo mati.

This term literally means “it reaches, but it does not reach.” It refers to the process in which the keilim are brought into existence from the light. As the light extends, it reaches (mati) the reshimu, which is the source from which the keilim come into existence. Nevertheless, as it interfaces with the reshimu, it withdraws (lo mati). The degree of expansion and withdrawal the light undergoes defines the nature of the particular k’li.

וְהִנֵּה בְּחִינַת הַצִּמְצוּם וְהַהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הוּא גוֹרֵם שֶׁהִיַּת זְמַן הָרֶגַע

The interplay between these phases of contraction and expansion causes the interval of a moment.

וְלָכֵן כֹּל שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הִתְחַלְּקוּת הַשֶּׁפַע לַחֲלָקִים רַבִּים

Accordingly, the Divine influence breaks up into many smaller units,

וְכָל חֵלֶק הֲרֵי צָרִיךְ לְהִתְמַשֵּׁךְ אַחַר שֶׁמִּסְתַּלֵּק חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁקְּדָמוֹ

each of which must be drawn down after the withdrawal of the unit of Divine influence that preceded it.

אִם כֵּן הַמְשָׁכַת וְהִסְתַּלְּקוּת הָא' נִקְרָא מָטֵי וְלֹא מָטֵי

This pattern in which influence is drawn down and then withdrawn is called mati velo mati,

הִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת וְהִסְתַּלְּקוּת וְרִבּוּי הַהִתְחַלְּקוּת

i.e., the expansion and withdrawal, which together with the manifold variation of Divine attributes,

יִהְיֶה רִבּוּי רְגָעִים

will lead to a multitude of moments.

וְכִמְשַׁל הַנְּשִׁימָה שֶׁבָּאָדָם

To illustrate by analogy: the process of a person’s breathing

הִיא בְּחִינַת הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת מִן הַלֵּב

draws down vitality from the heart to the limbs

בְּהִסְתַּלְּקוּת וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת

through a process of withdrawal and expansion.

וּמֵרִבּוּי הַנְּשִׁימוֹת יִהְיֶה זְמַן מָה

Taking many breaths will require an interval of time,

לְפִי שֶׁבְּהֶכְרֵחַ כָּל אַחַת קוֹדֶמֶת אוֹ מִתְאַחֶרֶת לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ,

for it is necessary that one either precede or follow another.

וְנִמְצָא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאוֹר אֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן

In the analogue, we find that even though G‑d’s infinite light is above time,

אֲבָל בַּנִּמְצָאִים הַנִּמְשָׁכִים מִמֶּנּוּ יִהְיֶה בְּחִינַת קְדִימָה וְאִחוּר

the entities that come into existence through Him follow an order of precedence,

מֵחֲמַת סֵדֶר הַמְשָׁכוּתָם

depending on the sequence in which they are drawn down.

וּלְפִי שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה נִמְשָׁךְ הָאוֹר כְּלָלִי הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינָה אַחַת

It was explained above that initially, a general light that was one inclusive unit was drawn down.

לָכֵן הָיָה רַק בְּחִינַת צִמְצוּם וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת אַחַת

Accordingly, there was just one contraction and expansion,

וְנִקְרֵאת סְקִירָה אַחַת

which is referred to as “one glance.”

וְזֶה סוֹד צוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט עַד סוֹף כָּל הַדּוֹרוֹת בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת

This is the mystic secret implied by the expression “He gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time” in one glance.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ שֶׁנִּתְחַלֵּק לְשִׁשָּׁה בְּחִינוֹת

Afterwards, this light was divided into Six Attributes,

הֵן שִׁשָּׁה מִדּוֹת שֶׁבַּפָּסוּק לְךָ ה' הַגְּדֻלָּה וְכוּ'(דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים א' כ"ט י"א)

i.e., the Six Middos alluded to in the verse (I Divrei HaYamim 29:11): “Yours is the greatness,…”

וְכָל אַחַת עַל כָּרְחָךְ נִמְשֶׁכֶת אַחַר זוּלָתָהּ

As each one is drawn down after the other,

יִהְיֶה שִׁשָּׁה מִינֵי מָטֵי וְלֹא מָטֵי הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל

producing six phases ofmati velo mati, as mentioned above.

וְהֵן הַנִּקְרָאִים שִׁשָּׁה יָמִים

They are called “six days,”

שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד כּוֹלֵל אֶלֶף שָׁנָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

and each day includes a millennium, as explained above.

וְזֶהוּ הַנִּקְרָא סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן

This is what is meant by the expression “the order of time” used by the Midrash as cited in the previous section.

כִּי בֶּאֱמֶת אֵינוֹ זְמַן גָּמוּר כְּשֶׁלָּנוּ

This term was chosen because, in truth, it is not time in a complete sense as we know it.

אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּקְרָא סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן לְפִי שֶׁהַמְשָׁכוֹתָיו בִּבְחִינַת הִתְחַלְּקוּת

Nevertheless, it is called “the order of time” because it is drawn down in separate units in sequence:

תְּחִלָּה חֶסֶד וְאַחַר כָּךְ גְּבוּרָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּפְאֶרֶת וְכוּ'

first Chessed, then Gevurah, and then Tiferes, etc.

רַק מִבְּחִינַת מַלְכוּת בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה יִתְהַוֶּה זְמַן גָּמוּר

The concept of time in a complete sense derives only from Malchus as it is drawn down into the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah,

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב מֶלֶךְ מָלָךְ וְיִמְלוֹךְ

as it is written:9 “He reigns, He reigned and He will reign,”

שֶׁהוּא עִנְיַן עָבָר הֹוֶה וְעָתִיד

associating the concepts of past, present, and future with G‑d’s sovereignty.

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם הוּא גַם כֵּן בִּבְחִינַת כְּלָל וּפְרָט

Nevertheless, even in those realms, the process of downward progression also involves first bringing into being a general unit from which particulars are drawn down.

כִּי בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהִתְחַלֵּק הַשֶּׁפַע לַחֲלָקִים כָּל כָּךְ

For in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, the Divine influence does not have to be divided to the same extent

כְּמוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל שֶׁלָּנוּ

as in our lowly world.

וְנִמְצָא בְּחִינָה אַחַת דִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה כּוֹלֵל חֲלָקִים רִבּוֹא רְבָבוֹת דְּעוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל

Thus, one unit in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah may include many myriads of units that come into being in our lowly world.

וְלָכֵן בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת יֻכְלְלוּ עֲשָׂרָה אוֹ ט"ו שָׁנִים,

Therefore, one glance on these higher levels may include ten or fifteen years of time in this world.

וּמִזֶּה מוּבָן הַמַּעֲשֶׂה דְּבַעַל שֵׁם טוֹב

On this basis, we can understand a story involving the Baal Shem Tov.

שֶׁצָּפָה וְהִשִּׂיג בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה מַה שֶּׁהָיָה אַחַר כָּךְ

On one Rosh HaShanah, he saw and comprehended what would take place in the future,

כַּיָּדוּעַ הַמַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁל גִּיסוֹ ר' גֵּרְשׁוֹן קוּטֶעבֶר עִם הֶחָכָם בְּאֶרֶץ הַקֹּדֶשׁ

as is well known with regard to the incident involving his brother-in-law, R. Gershon of Kitov, and a sage from the Holy Land.

שֶׁכָּתַב לוֹ הַבַּעַל שֵׁם טוֹב כָּל הַמַּעֲשֶׂה טֶרֶם שֶׁהָיְתָה בְּפֹעַל

The Baal Shem Tov wrote him all the particulars of that incident before it actually took place.

וַהֲגַם שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה עֲלִיַּת נִשְׁמָתוֹ בִּכְלָל הַקָּדוּם דְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

Now, the Baal Shem Tov’s soul had not ascended to the heights of the general, primeval light of Adam Kadmon mentioned above,

אֶלָּא בְּהֵיכָלוֹת דִּיצִירָה

but merely to the heichalos10 of Yetzirah.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי גַם שָׁם

Nevertheless, even on that level,

יוּכַל לִהְיוֹת נִכְלָלִים ט"ו שָׁנִים בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

it is possible for fifteen years to be included in a single glance, as mentioned above.

וְלָכֵן הִנֵּה בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה שֶׁנִּמְשָׁךְ בּוֹ חֵלֶק הַחַיּוּת עַל כָּל הַשָּׁנָה

In a similar way, on Rosh HaShanah, the portion of vitality allotted to the entire year is drawn down.

שֶׁלָּכֵן נִקְרָא רֹאשׁ

Therefore, it is called Rosh, “the head,”

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהָרֹאשׁ כּוֹלֵל חַיּוּת כָּל הַגּוּף

for just as the head contains the vitality for the entire body,

הִנֵּה כּוֹלֵל גַּם כֵּן כָּל הַזְּמַן בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת

Rosh HaShanah contains the entire span of time for that entire year in one glance.

וְכֵן עַל דֶּרֶךְ זֶה בְּרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ לְגַבֵּי כָּל הַחֹדֶשׁ,

Similarly, all the vitality for the entire month is contained within Rosh Chodesh.

וְזֶה סוֹד מַאֲמַר רַזַ"ל מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה סֵדֶר זְמַנִּים קֹדֶם לָכֵן

This is the mystic secret implied by our Sages’ statement that before the world came into being there existed “the order of time.”

פֵּרוּשׁ קֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל

The intent is that before the creation of our lowly world,

שֶׁאָז נֶאֶצְלוּ עוֹלַם הַנְּקֻדִּים שֶׁשָּׁם הָיָה הַשְּׁבִירָה

on the level of the emanation of the world of Nekudim where the breaking of the vessels of Tohu11 occurred

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב דֵּין לָא הַנְיָן לֵיהּ כוּ'

– as our Sages said, “These did not bring Me satisfaction,…” –

אָז הָיָה כְּבָר סֵדֶר זְמַנִּים

there existed “the order of time.”

וְלֹא זְמַן גָּמוּר

It was not time in a complete sense.

אֶלָּא אֲצִילוּת י' סְפִירוֹת

Nevertheless, the Ten Sefiros emanated in sequence:

שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה נִמְשָׁךְ חֶסֶד

First, Chessed was drawn down

וְאַחַר כָּךְ גְּבוּרָה

and then Gevurah.

הֲרֵי זֶה סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן,

This represents “the order of time.”

וּלְאַחַר כָּךְ בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

Afterwards, in the realms of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah,

נִתְהַוָּה זְמַן גָּמוּר,

actual time was brought into being.

וְלִהְיוֹת כִּי בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה צָרִיךְ שֶׁפַע עֶלְיוֹנָה לְהִתְחַלֵּק לַחֲלָקִים רַבִּים כָּל כָּךְ

In this material world, the sublime influence must be divided into many different particular elements,

עַד שֶׁמִּמִּדָּה אַחַת דַּאֲצִילוּת יִתְהַוֶּה אֶלֶף שָׁנָה

so much so that from one attribute in Atzilus is brought into being one thousand years,

כִּי תִּתְחַלֵּק לְאֶלֶף מַדְרֵגוֹת

for it is divided into a thousand levels.

שֶׁכָּל אַחַת מִתְחַלֶּקֶת לְשס"ה בְּחִינוֹת

Each one of those levels divides into 365 units,

שֶׁכָּל אַחַת מִתְחַלֶּקֶת לְכ"ד צֵרוּפִים

and each one of those divides into a sub-unit which receives vitality from one of the 24 forms of the names Havayah and A-donai

שֶׁהֵם שָׁעוֹת

which represent the hours.

שֶׁכָּל צֵרוּף כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתְלַבֵּשׁ חַיּוּתוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה

For in order for the vitality of every form of G‑d’s name to be enclothed in this world,

מֻכְרָח לְהִתְחַלֵּק לַחֲלָקִים רַבִּים כָּל כָּךְ

it is necessary that this vitality be divided into very many portions

עַד שֶׁיִּתְהַוֶּה מֵהֶם מֶשֶׁךְ שָׁעָה

so that an interval of an hour would be brought into being from them,

לְפִי קִבּוּץ הַצִּמְצוּם וְהַהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת

according to the collection of the phases of contraction and expansion,

שֶׁל כָּל חֵלֶק שֶׁשּׁוֹהֶה זְמַן רֶגַע

with each portion existing for the duration of a moment.

On this basis, we can understand that “the order of time” refers to the array and sequence of the attributes in the spiritual realms. For the quality of each attribute defines the nature of the unit of time that comes into being because of it. For example, the first millennium of creation stemmed from the attribute of Chessed (kindness). Therefore, mankind was given abundant blessings, as reflected in lifespans of close to 1000 years, even though the people’s conduct was decadent and they were not worthy.12

וּמִקִּבּוּץ הָרְגָעִים

And through the collection of all the moments,

תִּתְהַוֶּה מֶשֶׁךְ שָׁעָה

the duration of an hour is brought into being.

כִּי זֶהוּ כְּלָל גָּדוֹל

For this is a great general principle:

שֶׁכָּל שֶׁהַשֶּׁפַע תִּתְמַשֵּׁךְ לְמַטָּה יוֹתֵר

To the extent that the influence is drawn down to lower levels,

מֻכְרַחַת לְהִתְחַלֵּק בְּיוֹתֵר

it is forced to divide to a greater degree.

כְּמוֹ אוֹר הַנֵּר שֶׁבִּמְקוֹמוֹ

For example, when the light of a candle is in its initial place,

הוּא מַחֲזִיק מָקוֹם מוּעָט

it occupies a very small space,

וְהָאוֹרָה הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מִמֶּנּוּ מְמַלֵּא מָקוֹם גָּדוֹל

but the light that diffuses from it fills up a large place

כְּבַיִת וְכַיּוֹצֵא

– a house or the like.

וְכֵן בְּרַב לְתַלְמִיד

Similar concepts apply in the communication process between a teacher and a student.

כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהַשְׁפִּילוֹ לְתַלְמִיד קָט הָעֶרֶךְ

When a teacher desires to bring down his thoughts to communicate to a student on a low level,

יַכְרִיחֶנּוּ לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּתֵבוֹת וּדְבָרִים רַבִּים לְחַלְּקוֹ

he is forced to use many words and ideas to break down his idea into individual points

כְּפִי שֶׁיַּשִּׂיגֶנּוּ הַתַּלְמִיד כוּ'

so that the student whose thinking process is less developed can grasp it.

וּכְשֶׁיַּשְׁפִּיעַ לְתַלְמִיד נָבוֹן יוֹתֵר

When, by contrast, he seeks to communicate to a student with more understanding,

לֹא יִצְטָרֵךְ לְדַבֵּר דְּבָרִים רַבִּים כָּל כָּךְ

he does not have to speak with so many words.

נִמְצָא הַמּוּעָט מַחֲזִיק הַמְרֻבֶּה

Thus, “few words hold much content,”13

כִּכְלָל לִפְרָט

like a general principle which contains many particulars.

וְכֵן הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה לְגַבֵּי הַדִּבּוּר

Similar concepts apply with regard to the relationship between thought and speech.

שֶׁמַּה שֶּׁיַּחֲזִיק בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה בְּרֶגַע

What will take a moment of thought

יִצְטָרֵךְ בְּדִבּוּר לִשְׁהוֹת זְמַן רַב לְפָרְשׁוֹ כוּ',

will take a much longer time to explain in speech.

וְנִמְצָא מוּבָן מִזֶּה עַל כָּל פָּנִים

From the above is understood

שֶׁסִּבַּת הִתְחַלְּקוּת הַשֶּׁפַע

that the reason for the division of the Divine influence into different attributes in the spiritual realms

הוּא סִבַּת הִתְהַוּוּת הַזְּמַן

is also the reason for time being brought into existence.

For as mentioned above, time reflects the transition from one Divine attribute to another as His light is drawn down through a process of expansion and contraction.

וְכָל שֶׁהַשֶּׁפַע הִיא בְּהִתְכַּלְלוּת יוֹתֵר

To the extent that the Divine influence is in a more general state,

אֲזַי גַּם הַזְּמַן נִכְלָל שָׁם חֲלָקִים רַבִּים כְּאֶחָד כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

many units of time will be included as one on that level, as explained above,

עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁבְּאוֹר כְּלָלִי הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

until in the general light mentioned above,

נִכְלָל הַכֹּל כְּאֶחָד

everything is included as one.

וְהִיא מַחֲשָׁבָה אַחַת וּסְקִירָה אַחַת

This refers to the one thought and the one glance

שֶׁכּוֹלֵל כָּל הַזְּמַן כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

that includes all time, as explained above.

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיַן מַאֲמַר רַזַ"ל תּוֹרָה חֲתוּמָה נִתְּנָה (גִטִּין ס' א')

This is the intent of our Sages’ comment (Gittin 60a) that “the Torah was given as a sealed entity,” i.e., as a single unit.

וּלְחַד מַאן דְּאָמַר מְגִלָּה מְגִלָּה נִתְּנָה

In that Talmudic discussion, there is another opinion that the Torah was given passage by passage.

כִּי בֶּאֱמֶת הֲרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הִיא בִּזְמַנִּים חֲלוּקִים

Now, in truth, the Torah was given at different times.

פָּרָשַׁת נֹחַ נֶאֶמְרָה בִּזְמַן הַמַּבּוּל

The passage concerning Noach was said at the time of the Flood,

וּפָרָשַׁת אַבְרָהָם אַחַר כָּךְ

followed later by the passage concerning Avraham,

וְכֵן פָּרָשַׁת וַיִּשְׁלַח יַעֲקֹב אַחַר כָּךְ

and then the passage of Yaakov sending angels,

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַתַּן תּוֹרָה

and then the Giving of the Torah

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מִצְוַת יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא

and later the mitzvah of Yom Kippur and the like.

אֶלָּא שֶׁזֶּהוּ כְּפִי שֶׁבָּאָה בְּגִלּוּי

This all represents the manner in which the passages were revealed,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל מֹשֶׁה (שְׁמוֹת ד' ד')

as it is written (Shmos 4:4): “And G‑d said to Moshe,”

מִבְּחִינַת דִּבּוּר עֶלְיוֹן

i.e., the sublime speech

שֶׁמִּתְגַּלֶּה בִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה

as it is revealed in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah

כְּפִי הַזְּמַן שֶׁלָּהֶם

according to the conception of time that prevails in these realms.

In those realms, the conception of time is different, depending on the degree of the contraction of Divine light which characterizes that realm.

אֲבָל בְּשֹׁרֶשׁ הַתּוֹרָה בְּאָדָם קַדְמוֹן

Nevertheless, in the Torah’s source in Adam Kadmon,

בִּכְלָל הַקָּדוּם הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל

in the original general category mentioned above,

כּוֹלֶלֶת כֻּלָּם כְּאַחַת

all of the passages of the Torah are included as one. On that higher level, all future events are included in one glance.

וְזֶהוּ דַּעַת הָאוֹמֵר חֲתוּמָה נִתְּנָה

This is the intent of the opinion which maintains that the Torah was given as a sealed entity.

וְלִהְיוֹת כִּי נִתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל שֶׁגַּם הַכְּלָל הַקָּדוּם הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל הוּא נֶאֱצַל לְאַחַר הַצִּמְצוּם

It was explained above that even the original general category emanated forth after the tzimtzum,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁאֵין בִּכְלָל אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁבִּפְרָט

for “the general category contains no more than its particular elements.”14

The fact that there is a connection between the general category and the individual identities of the particular elements comprised within implies that we are speaking about a level after the tzimtzum. For before the tzimtzum, anything other than G‑d’s light exists merely as potential.

אֲבָל עַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לַאו מִכָּל אִנּוּן מִדּוֹת אִיהוּ כְּלָל,

With regard to G‑d’s Essence, however, “He is not any of these attributes at all.”15

לָכֵן הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן לְגַמְרֵי וְעִקָּר

Therefore, He is above time entirely and fundamentally,

עַד שֶׁגַּם סְקִירָה אַחַת לֹא יִתָּכֵן לוֹמַר,

to the extent that to speak of “one glance” is also not appropriate.

וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן סֵדֶר הַזְּמַן שֶׁבְּמִדּוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת,

Certainly, this is true with regard to the “order of time” in Atzilus.

אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא מְצַמְצֵם אוֹרוֹ לִהְיוֹת בְּחִינַת מַחֲשָׁבָה וּסְקִירָה אַחַת

Instead, He contracted His light into one thought and one glance

לִכְלוֹל כָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים וְהַזְּמַן שֶׁבָּהֶם כְּאַחַת:

to include all entities that would exist and the entire span of time as one.

וּמִזֶּה מוּבָן מְעַט מִזְּעֵיר עִנְיַן הַיְדִיעָה וּבְחִירָה

From the above, one can understand to a certain degree the apparent paradox between G‑d’s omniscience and a person’s free choice.

שֶׁהַיְדִיעָה הִיא בִּכְלָל הַקָּדוּם שֶׁסּוֹקֵר כָּל הַזְּמַן בִּסְקִירָה אַחַת

G‑d’s omniscience relates to the first general category in which He surveys all time with one glance, a level above the tzimtzum.

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אֵינָהּ מַכְרַחַת הַבְּחִירָה

Nevertheless, His knowledge on this level does not compel man’s choice.

שֶׁהַבְּחִירָה הִיא לְמַטָּה

For man’s choice is on a lower plane,

כְּשֶׁכְּבָר נִמְשְׁכוּ בִּבְחִינַת פְּרָט מִן הַכְּלָל,

where particulars have already been drawn down from the general category.16

וּלְפִי זֶה יוּבַן גַּם כֵּן בְּטוּב טַעַם בִּטּוּל הַזְּמַן לְגַבֵּי לְמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן

On the basis of the above, it can be thoroughly understood how time is subsumed to the level above time.

מֵאַחַר שֶׁהַזְּמַן נִתְהַוָּה עַל יְדֵי צִמְצוּמִים וְהִתְחַלְּקוּת הַשֶּׁפַע

For time was brought into being through tzimtzumim and the division of the Divine influence

בִּבְחִינַת הִסְתַּלְּקוּת וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת

through the process of withdrawal and expansion.

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁכָּל הַצִּמְצוּמִים וְהַהִסְתַּלְּקוּת אֵינָן אֶלָּא לְפָנֵינוּ

Now, the entire concept of tzimtzumim and withdrawal applies only with regard to us,

אֲבָל קַמֵּיהּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ כֹּלָּא כְּלָא

but before Him, everything is as if it never existed;

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה קֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם,

it is like it was before the creation of the world.

אִם כֵּן גַּם מְצִיאַת הַזְּמַן הוּא כְּלָא חֲשִׁיב

Hence, even the existence of time is of no importance,

וְאַתָּה הוּא עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִבְרָא כוּ'

for “You were the same before the world was created and You are the same after the world has been created.”

וּכְאִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מַמָּשׁ

It is as if the world does not exist at all,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהַמָּקוֹם כְּלָא חֲשִׁיב

for space is of no importance to Him,

עַד שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹמוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם

for He is “the place of the world.”17

Implied is that everything exists within G‑d’s creative power, like an idea that exists in the mind of the person who conceived it.18

וְדַי לַמֵּבִין:

This is sufficient for a person of understanding.



Synopsis

In this section, the Tzemach Tzedek continues the explanation of the principle that G‑d is above time and elaborates on the concept of “the order of time” that exists in the spiritual realms.

He explains that the manner in which time comes into being also follows the same pattern as that of particular entities coming into being from a general category. There is a general light that includes all the particular created beings as one, and this same light also includes all the units of time as one. This rung is identified with the level of Adam Kadmon at which G‑d “gazed and surveyed all existence until the end of time in one glance.” This one glance includes the entire span of the six millennia of the world’s existence.

Afterwards, from this glance, there is a division into several lesser units, each representing a different emotional attribute and including a large span of time; e.g., the first millennium is identified with the attribute of Chessed. Thus, it is said (Tehillim 90:4): “For in Your eyes 1,000 years are like a yesterday that has passed.” For each of these divisions, referred to as “days,” includes a millennium. This is what is meant by the expression “the order of time” used by the Midrash. It refers to the middos of Atzilus, and their interrelation to each other. Time is structured according to the pattern in which these attributes interact with each other.

Afterwards, these lesser levels of light divide into even smaller units, with each unit including a long span of time, but less than the previous level. For example, on Rosh HaShanah, a light that includes the entire span of 365 days of the year in one glance is drawn down. Afterwards, the light is further divided into twelve Rashei Chodashim, with each Rosh Chodesh including the span of (29 or) 30 days. Afterwards, it is divided into days and then from days into hours.

G‑d’s Essence, by contrast, is above time entirely. Moreover, He transcends entirely the “order of time.” Indeed, the existence of time is of no consequence to Him, as we say in our prayers: “You were the same before the world was created and You are the same after the world has been created.” Nevertheless, all time is included within Him in transcendent oneness.