The hoped-for effect of the system of contemplation, described in the previous chapter, is inner transformation of the Animal Soul and one's natural passions. The passions then become focused on love of G‑d instead of their natural material concerns. This is the effect of the dark flame, consuming and transforming the wick.

This is paralleled by a similar process taking place in the spiritual realms. Just as the Animal Soul is abnegated before the Divine, so are the seventy heavenly princes (which are the source of the seventy nations of the world) abnegated before G‑d. This has a messianic significance, triggered, it would seem, through the person's contemplation during prayer.

There is, however, a higher form of contemplation, corresponding to the bright flame. Instead of focusing on memalei kol almin, the worshipper aims higher and higher, focusing on sovev kol almin and then higher still, to ever higher levels, with simple self-surrender before the Essence of the Divine.


Inner Transformation

When one contemplates with the depths of mind and heart on yichuda tata'ah of malchut within the worlds — memale kol almin — the power of the Divine radiance which gives existence to all worlds from the void, as explained above (concerning Baruch shem k'vod malchuto l'olam vaed),1 then one will become inspired in his heart with a Divine love, loving G‑d with all his heart — with both inclinations, as the verse states "and you should love G‑d with all your heart"2 [and the Sages comment: you should love G‑d with both inclinations, with your Good inclination and your Evil inclination3].

This is because through the G‑dly understanding [of yichuda tata'ah] which is absorbed properly in one's mind and heart, one's natural heart of flesh will also become excited. It will feel a longing and a wonderful yearning with flames of spiritual fire until he loathes [his present state] and will transform every foreign or negative desire coming from his natural passions,4 to have only "one heart," focused on his Father in Heaven, just as the soul itself yearns with Divine longing — a yearning which is the very opposite of the natural desire of the physical body, which is called "the spirit of the animal descending below."5

He will experience a genuine enthusiasm, from the inner depths of his heart, affecting all the aspects of his natural soul. This form of contemplation, focusing on the Divine energy which is in the worlds, is very close to a person. Hence he can perceive it even with his physical eyes, as it says, "raise your eyes to the heights and see Who created these."6 The term "see" implies as with real physical sight, to the extent that one can completely transform one's foreign desires into a fiery enthusiasm of longing for G‑d alone. Thus, even one's natural passion, which is full of evil, is transformed into true Divine holiness.

(The person is then called "pure of heart, who does not turn his soul to worthless things,"7 nor his desires at all, focusing only on G‑d alone, as expressed in the words "who is there for me in Heaven, and I want none other than You in the world, my flesh and my heart long for You.8)

Eventually his heart will become completely pure, at least at that moment, with absolutely genuine surrender of his self to the Divine Ayin. (For the Divine radiance of malchut of the worlds rests on him. When this shines on high, over the supernal angels, they are totally abnegated. [Therefore his own animal soul is also abnegated.9])

The Dark Radiance

This is just like the image of the wick that burns with the flame with which it is kindled, transforming it to the essence of fire and light. Similarly, the body, comprising the fire and natural heat of evil desires, is transformed into longing for the Divine, which is termed the fire of the sacred flame10 of the Divine Soul, dedicated solely to G‑d. Thus, the verse states, "[you should love G‑d] with all your heart,"11 [i.e.] "with both your inclinations," so that also the evil inclination in the left side of the heart12 should love G‑d with the excitement of the fire of the sacred flame of the Divine.

Thus, there can be genuine Divine enthusiasm in the heart of flesh, as in the verse, "my heart and my flesh sing."13 However this does not last a long time, for the oil of the quality of selflessness, described above, does not flow into the wick.

It was explained above that this [enthusiasm] is termed the "dark radiance," the black fire which gradually burns and consumes the wick. Similarly, the Divine radiance of the ecstasy of the soul — on account of its awareness of memale kol almin — burns and consumes one's natural desires,14 to transform them to the radiance of holiness.

The Parallel in Spiritual Realms

(This parallels in the spiritual realms, when malchut of Atzilut is vested in the worlds, it is like the soul being vested in the body, and malchut is called "the soul of all that lives"15memale kol almin, and is also called the "dark radiance." For it has a transforming effect, causing the abnegation of existence before the Divine in all the worlds, including also the seventy patron-angels of nogah16 of Asiyah. They too become abnegated and absorbed in the Living G‑d through song.17

[This idea is expressed] as the verses "G‑d reigns over the nations"18 and "Praise the L-rd all you nations,"19 and also "render to the L-rd, O families of nations."20 There are many similar verses in Scripture, like "let all the earth fear the L-rd,"21 "let all the earth sing in jubilation to the L-rd."22 This [transformation of the spiritual realms so that they recognize G‑d's Kingship] is just like the transformation of the seven evil emotions of the natural soul in a human being.)23

Wicked and Righteous

(The verse "the lamp of the wicked sputters"24 means, that even when they are "beaten" [by the problems of life] their lamp sputters and flickers even more, for they are totally separated [from holiness] by being involved with complete evil from the realm of the three totally impure kelipot. However, regarding tzaddikim the verse states, "the light of the righteous [rejoices],"25 and "a body in which the radiance of the soul does not shine, should be 'beaten' and then the light shines, like a log in which the flame does not catch."26 Thus it is evident by experiencing difficulties27 regarding children, health and livelihood, the light of the soul shines within him, prompting him to thoughts of teshuvah with a contrite heart, truly submitting to G‑d and feeling intense emotions of love and fear of G‑d within the longing of the fire of the sacred flames of the soul.

Therein lies the difference between nogah in which good and evil are combined, and the three impure kelipot of complete evil, as it is written, "and you will turn back and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves G‑d and one who does not."28 However, even in the case of the wicked, it is written, "they will be cleansed and purified,"29 and as the verse, "those who are lost... will return,"30 "for no one will be completely driven away."31 Also, of the nations of the world the verse states, "then I will turn to the nations [a clear lip]."32)

The Bright Flame: Ever Higher

Now, this discussion concerned the dark flame which burns at the wick. However the bright flame described above, which is termed "the light which illuminates," is derived specifically from the second kind of contemplation, of sovev kol almin.

This [contemplation] is on the name Havaya in Atzilut, in the yichuda ila'ah expressed in the [first verse of] Shema Yisrael. It is known that this relates to the ten sefirot of Atzilut which are one with the Essence of the Infinite, for He and His life-force are truly one,33 as stated [in the Shema], "the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is One," truly one with the pure unity of the Infinite itself. This is far beyond the aspect of malchut that becomes the source of the worlds, as is written, "with You is the source of life."34

The Essence of the Infinite is also higher and beyond even the world of Atzilut, for it states, "You are one, beyond number,"35 meaning beyond the number of the ten sefirot, because "before one, what do you count?"36

This transcendence is termed the "ten sefirot without qualities,"37 meaning without any quality at all, for "they are beyond all these attributes."38 This is the very essence of the Infinite, for also the way that He veils39 Himself in order to be the source of the ten sefirot of Atzilut involves only a mere gleam — termed the kav and chut [of radiance]40 which extends from malchut of Ein Sof itself, through the initial tzimtzum,41 as is known, just like [the veiling in between] Atzilut and the lower worlds of Beriah, Yeztirah and Asiyah.42

Concerning this, the verse states, "For with You is the source of..." all the life of the worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. This [higher level] is what is termed "sovev kol almin." It surrounds the four worlds of Aztilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah equally. This is what is meant by "King, Only One, life of the worlds"43 on a level to include everything. Or, "Only One, life of the worlds, King"44 and "Your Kingship is the Kingship of all worlds"45 on a higher, more general level, as per what was explained above regarding the two levels of malchut of Atzilut.46

Yet Higher...

Yet higher than this is the level beyond even the general surrounding radiance which subsumes the four worlds of Aztilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, at the point of the very Essence and Being of the Divine. (This is called Supernal Purity47 of the Heavens beyond the Heavens.48 And the main self-surrender in the word One is to this very Essence and Being of the Divine, as it says "to You, G‑d, I lift my soul"49 — literally to You.)50


The previous chapter describes the inner transformation of the Animal Soul and its natural passions. The passions are now focused on love of G‑d instead of their natural material concerns. This occurs through contemplation on the G‑dly radiance that creates all the worlds, which triggers inspiration in one's physical heart to love G‑d with all your heart -- "with both your inclinations." This hitbonenut is within one's reach since it deals with empirical matters. It can actually transform one's heated heart to purity by an inspiration from on High — similar to the radiance of malchut on the celestial worlds and angels.

This parallels the burning wick, which is swiftly consumed, yet during its short-lived existence incinerates all alien desires. (Malchut too, when it descends into the worlds, and is termed dark radiance, abnegates the self to the Divine Ayin -- including the seventy heavenly princes.) This is achieved even though it is by way of revelation from on High. The verse says of the wicked, the lamp of the wicked sputters — it does not grasp the wick [even with a revelation from on High]; but regarding tzaddikim, the light of the righteous rejoices. (A body in which the radiance of the soul does not shine should be "beaten" — this beating may include troubles regarding children, health or livelihood — and inspires one to an enthusiastic love and fear of G‑d. Hence sputter vs. the light — the three totally impure kelipot vs. kelipat nogah, a mixture of good and evil).

But the illuminating radiance — the higher form of contemplation, is in Havaya. This is in the ten sefirot of Atzilut, which are united with the Essence — beyond the stage in which malchut is a source for By'a, transcending even the ray that becomes the source for the ten sefirot of Atzilut, about which it is stated You are One but not in the numerical sensetehiru ila'ah, Heaven beyond the Heavens.

So just as oil reveals the two colors in the flame [bearing in mind the twofold benefit], likewise the spiritual oil — the two kinds of hitbonenut — reveals the two levels of Divine service of the soul: 1) yichuda tata'ah — transforming the negative enthusiasm to a G‑dly one ["going against one's nature"]; 2) yichuda ila'ah — uniting with one's source that transcends all of Creation, ultimately G‑d's Essence ["a pure radiance"].