Chapter I

הנה עין הוי׳ אל יראיו

"The eye of the L-rd is directed
toward those who fear Him."1

The Midrash2 comments that this verse alludes to Avraham, as it is written:3 "Now I know that you are a G‑d-fearing person."

The Midrash states:4 "When the Jewish people fulfill G‑d's will, He looks at them with both eyes, as it is written:5 'The eyes of the L-rd are directed toward the righteous.' When they disobey Him, He looks at them with one eye, as it is written: 'The eye of the L-rd is directed toward those who fear Him.' "

Yet Avraham served G‑d with great devotion and mesirus nefesh. How can this expression be used regarding him, when our Sages tell us that it is employed when Jews disobey G‑d?

The matter can be understood as follows: There are two levels, hishtalshelus and the level that transcends hishtalshelus. The emanation of a higher level progressively descending to a lower level is hishtalshelus. An example would be a chain made of rings, in which the upper portion of every lower ring rests on the lower portion of the ring just above it.

The same is true regarding knowledge. There are various branches of knowledge, higher and lower, the simple and the more profound. In truth, all branches of knowledge are related. Therefore a thorough grounding in a lower branch leads to a deeper understanding of the higher levels. Within each particular branch of knowledge, too, there are levels, with some portions being higher and more profound while others are lower and shallower.

There are two manners of hishtalshelus. One manner is that the illumination of a higher level descends to a lower one. A second manner is that the higher level actually causes the lower one to come into being. The latter form of hishtalshelus is called ilah v'olul, i.e., cause and effect. The higher level is known as ilah, meaning "creator" or "cause," while the lower is known as olul, which means "created" or "effect."

In Sefiros,6 too, there is hishtalshelus. In this instance, part of the illumination of the higher level descends into the lower one.

Accordingly, we understand what is written in Sefer HaPardes7 that within each Sefirah, there are three levels. The first is that which is drawn down from the Sefirah above it, the second is the essence of the Sefirah in question, and the third is that part of the Sefirah which descends to the Sefirah below it.

An example is the Sefirah of Chochmah, or concept. The first level of the Sefirah comes from the Sefirah of Keser, as it is written:8 "Chochmah comes from ayin," referring to the Sefirah of Keser, which is known as ayin or "nothingness." The second level of Chochmah is the essence of the Sefirah. The third level is that which emanates from Chochmah to Binah, or understanding.

The above-mentioned three levels are found in all the Sefiros. This is the meaning of the term "Hishtalshelus HaSefiros" the progressive chain of descent of the Sefiros. In fact, the emanation of a higher Sefirah can be said to affect even a third Sefirah, through the intermediary of the one in between.

There is also a manner of "Hishtalshelus HaSefiros," whereby the lower Sefirah actually comes about from the higher. This does not mean that the lower Sefirah is actually created from the higher. Rather, the lower one was, prior to its emergence, concealed by and enclosed within the higher one. When the Sefirah is subsequently revealed, the terms ilah and olul are applicable.

All matters regarding hishtalshelus relate specifically to levels which are comparable one to another.

In summary: Soul powers and Sefiros exist on two levels. One level is higher than hishtalshelus while the other is hishtalshelus. An example of hishtalshelus is a chain, the rings of which are linked together. The relationship between Chochmah and Binah is one of ilah and olul, cause and effect.

Chapter II

Just as hishtalshelus exists in Sefiros, it is also found in the three worlds of Beriah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation) and Asiyah (Action). These worlds too are comparable, and because of this similarity, the olul the created level comes seemingly as a matter of course from its creator, the ilah.

This will be better understood by considering the powers of intellect and emotion, which are called ilah and olul, respectively. Intellect is the ilah, the cause, and emotions are alulim, the conclusions or results. Emotions arise as a matter of course from the intellectual ilah. When the latter exists within a person's mind in a luminous fashion, i.e., with clarity and in an orderly manner, then almost as a matter of course the heart's emotions will be aroused and revealed, in consonance with the content of the intellect which bore them.

We find this to be so regarding matters both physical and spiritual.

Regarding physical matters: when one understands and is thoroughly convinced that something is truly good for him, he develops a desire for it, and in his heart will be born a feeling of love and attachment to the object of his affection.

So too with the comprehension of spiritual matters. For example, a person comprehends that G‑dliness is the source of life for everyone and everything. He then proceeds to ponder this concept until he feels it with every fiber of his understanding. When he does so, his understanding of this spiritual matter G‑dly wisdom will be as clear to him as his understanding of natural wisdom.

Human intellect can readily comprehend matters of natural wisdom, as well as concepts relating to business. This is because a person's business is close to his heart. He therefore comprehends such matters very clearly, entertaining no doubts about even the most minor detail. Since the matter is extremely close to him, he finds himself strongly drawn and attached to it.

When a person comprehends a spiritual concept with the same degree of comprehension as a physical matter, and is drawn and attached to it, his comprehension becomes palpable. There will be awakened within his heart a wonderfully warm emotional response.

Thus, both in matters material and spiritual, the ilah of intellect reveals and creates the olul of emotion.

The reason is as follows: Emotion is a result of the spreading forth and drawing down of the ilah of intellect so that it can create the olul of feelings. In other words, intellect must be diffused before it can fashion a consonant emotion. Only such diffused intellect, i.e., the external level of intellect, can create emotion, since the essence of intellect9 is so lofty that it has no connection to emotion, and thus cannot possibly serve as its ilah. Only from the external levels of intellect do emotions arise as a matter of course, since the two [the external level of intellect and emotion] are comparable.10

In summary: Hishtalshelus is also found in the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. This is similar to the relationship between intellect and emotion, which are termed ilah, creator and cause, and olul, created and effect. The emotional olul automatically comes into being from the intellectual ilah. When a person studies and comprehends G‑dly concepts, love and fear of G‑d are awakened within him.

Chapter III

Emotions are a manifestation of [external] intellect. In other words, the ilah of intellect enclothes itself in the olul of emotions.

Love and hate are emotions which affect actions. Loving someone results in beneficial actions, both physical and spiritual. Physically, one provides a friend with all that one can in a generous and unstinting manner, and with great satisfaction. Spiritually, he is completely honest with him, discussing matters that are closest to his heart and seeking his counsel in things that concern him. This is because his mind and heart are truly close to those of his friend.

Enmity causes a person to draw away from another, both physically and spiritually. Physically, one keeps an enemy at a distance, for according to the Torah, those that should [for halachic reasons] be kept at arm's length must be dealt with in such a manner. Spiritually, the mind and heart withdraw from an enemy, not wanting to associate with him.

The same holds true with the rest of the emotions; each affects one's actions according to its particular qualities.

The emotions and their resultant actions will vary according to the intellect that gives rise to them. We observe that the love one has for a friend who has done one a small favor cannot be compared to that felt towards a friend who has done a crucial favor, such as saving one's life. In the latter instance, the act often inspires total dedication in the recipient; whatever he can do in return pales in comparison to his friend's deed.

The same is true regarding enmity. The ill feelings harbored towards one who causes another a monetary loss are much slighter than those felt towards one who places his fellow in physical or spiritual peril.

The above-mentioned emotions are entirely dependent upon the intellect which fuels them; the more deeply one understands the good done him by his friend or the harm caused him by his foe, the greater his love or enmity towards them. These emotions, in turn, affect his subsequent actions.

All this clearly indicates that intellect illuminates and vitalizes the emotions.

Accordingly, we can better understand the character traits of different individuals. For example, one may save the lives of two people, yet the emotional response may differ. One person may become completely devoted to his benefactor, while the second, though also cognizant of the great favor done him, might act in a less grateful manner. The reason for their respective attitudes is directly related to how deeply they comprehend the good done them. One person understands more fully than the other the danger he was in, and the significance of his rescue.

In summary: Emotions are a manifestation of [external] intellect. Intellect illuminates and vivifies the emotions, so that both the emotions and their resultant actions are dependent on the intellect which gave rise to them. This is the reason for the varying degrees of love and hate.

Chapter IV

From the above we conclude that intellect affects emotion in two ways: it affects the feeling itself and it affects the action which results from the feeling.

The feeling and the resultant action differ in that the olul [the actual feeling] is fashioned from the ilah [the intellect itself], while the magnitude of the feeling and the resultant action depend on the degree of illumination and vitality emanating from the intellect.

Yet only a glimmering of intellect is enclothed within the essential and practical levels of emotion, since intellect itself is but a glimmer relative to an individual's totality, and not his essence.

The brain performs many varied tasks, among them the transmission of knowledge and the creation of children. Both tasks relate to another individual. Although both come from the brain, there is a great difference in how they come about. Knowledge is transmitted through speech, while children are created in another manner. The transmission of knowledge is called "the transmission of a glimmer," while the creation of children is termed "the transmission of essence."

The difference in transmission is twofold: Knowledge is imparted in a spiritual manner, while the "transmission of essence" is done physically. Also, "the transmission of essence" is continued from generation to generation (for which reason the Jewish people are called, "Children of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov"), while intellect may not be transmitted even from one generation to the next. Even when it is, such transmission is but "a glimmer of a glimmer," for intellect itself is but a glimmer.

Yet that intellectual glimmer is the vitalizing force of all emotion. For this reason, when, with the passage of time, the understanding that illuminates an emotion is dimmed whether it be the magnitude of a favor done by one's friend or the evil done by one's foe the emotion itself will wither, giving rise to the expression "ancient friends" or "ancient enemies." Clearly, the intellect permeating the emotion is the source of its vitality.

In summary: Intellect affects both the creation and the force of an emotion. However, intellect which enclothes itself in emotion is but a glimmer and is therefore deemed to be an "external transmission," in contrast to the transmission which comes from the brain in order to create a child, which is a transmission of essence.

Chapter V

Indeed, we must understand the profound distinction between intellect and emotion, for they differ in their very essence, or mahus. The Hebrew word mahus is a composite of mah hu, or "what is it." The mahus of intellect is delight, while the mahus of emotion is desire. Accordingly, intellect and emotion vary in their fundamental nature; intellect is calm and settled, and emotion is aroused and excited. Nonetheless, the intellectual and emotional powers of the soul are in consonance, due to the fact that intellect automatically generates emotions.

This will be better understood by again considering ilah and olul, emotion and thought, but this time viewing emotions as the ilah and thought as the olul. Thought comes naturally from emotion when a person desires something, he thinks about it. Often the person himself is unaware that he has become engrossed in such thoughts.

We observe that when a person immerses himself in an intellectual matter of great profundity, when the comprehension of that matter means much to him, he will toil with great diligence. It may happen that the person suddenly realizes that he is thinking [not about the intellectual subject, but rather] about what he desires. This is because people are emotionally bound up with whatever they desire, and these emotional bonds naturally cause thought. Such is the nature of ilah and olul.

We can similarly understand the nature of ilah and olul in the spiritual worlds. All creatures of this universe, "the hosts of the earth," are divided into four categories: inorganic, vegetative, animal and articulate (mankind). Other than the Jewish people, all creation has its source in the Chayos HaMerkovah, the spiritual beings of the Divine Chariot, whose physical counterparts are created through the descent of ilah and olul.

A long chain of descent is involved in creating the souls of the four categories of physical beings from their sublime source in the Divine Chariot. Many levels of ilah and olul , each lower than the other, are necessary for the ultimate emergence of souls in physical beings. It must, however, be understood that only the souls come into being through the process of ilah and olul ; the physical bodies are created ex nihilo.

In summary: The veridical difference between intellect and emotion is that the mahus of intellect is delight and the mahus of emotion is desire. Accordingly, their natures vary, intellect being calm and emotion being excited. Nevertheless, they are closely related. This clarifies the progressive chain of descent of ilah and olul.

Avraham made it known to all that G‑d created heaven, earth and everything they contain, and that He oversees all creatures with Divine Providence, which is their life force.

This is the meaning of the saying: " 'The eye of the L-rd is directed toward those who fear Him' refers to Avraham."

There are three distinct levels, when speaking of G‑d's vision. One is that of "The eye [singular] of the L-rd...." This refers to a time when Jews disobey G‑d. The second level is that of "The eyes [plural] of the L-rd are directed toward the righteous," referring to times when Jews fulfill G‑d's will. The third and highest level is that of "one eye." This is the supremely spiritual level of "Einah pikicha d'Atika Kadishah," or "The open eye of the Holy Atik.11 Avraham's mesirus nefesh and his ability to withstand his various tests enabled him to reach this lofty level. [It was due to Avraham's reaching this level that] G‑d said to him: "Now I know that you are a G‑d-fearing person."