With the above in mind, we may now understand the statement in the holy Zohar, that the verse Shema Yisrael is Yichudah Ilaah ("higher level Unity"), and Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuto Leolam Vaed is Yichudah Tataah ("lower level Unity"). For Vaed is Echad through the substitution of letters.

The cause and reason for this Tzimtzum and concealment that the Holy One, blessed be He, obscured and hid the life-force of the world, to make the world appear as an independently existing entity [is as follows]: It is known to all that the purpose of the creation of the world is for the sake of the revelation of His kingdom, may He be blessed, for "There is no King without a nation." The word am (nation), is related etymologically to the word ommemot (concealed, dimmed), for they are separate entities, distinct and distant from the level of the king. For, even if the king had very many sons, the name kingdom would not apply to them, nor even to nobles alone. Only "In a multitude of people is the glory of the king."

The name which indicates the attribute of His Malchut (Kingship, Royalty), may He be blessed, is the name Adnut (Lordship), for He is the "Lord of the whole earth." Thus, it is this attribute and this Name which bring into existence and sustain the world so that it should be as it is now, a completely independent and separate entity, and not absolutely nullified. For with the withdrawal of this attribute and this Name, G‑d forbid, the world would revert to its source "In the word of G‑d" and "The breath of His mouth" and would be completely nullified there, and the name "world" could not be applied to it at all.

The term "world" can be applied solely to that which possesses the dimensions of space and time; "space" referring to east, west, north, and south, upward and downward, and "time," to past, present and future. All these dimensions have no relation to the holy supernal attributes. Only concerning the attribute of His Malchut, may He be blessed, is it possible to say that He, may He be blessed, is King "Above without end and below without limit," and likewise in all four directions. The same is true concerning the dimensions of time, [as it is written,] "G‑d reigns, G‑d reigned and G‑d will reign." Thus, the life-force of space, and likewise of time, and their coming into being from nothingness, and their existence as long as they shall exist, is from the attribute of His Malchut, may He be blessed, and the name Adnut, blessed be He. Now, since the attribute of His Malchut, may He be blessed, is united with His Essence and Being in an absolute union, as will be explained, therefore, space and time are also completely nullified in relation to His Essence and Being, may He be blessed, as the light of the sun is nullified in the sun.

And this is the [meaning of] the intertwining of the [letters of the] name Adnut with the [letters of the] name Hava'ye. The name Havaye indicates that He transcends time, for "He was, He is, and He will be at the same instant," as is explained [in Ra'aya Mehemna. on the Portion of Pinchas]; and likewise [is He] above space, for He continuously brings into existence all the dimensions of space everywhere, from the uppermost to the lowermost [regions] and in the four directions.

Now, although He is supra-spatial and supra-temporal, nevertheless, He is also found below in space and time, that is, He unites with His attribute of Malchut from which space and time are derived and come into existence. And this is Yichudah Tataah, [the intertwining of (the letters of the name) Hava'ye with (the letters of the name) Adnut, blessed be He], i.e., His Essence and Being, may He be blessed, which is called by the name En Sof ("Infinite"), completely fills the whole earth temporally and spatially. In the heavens above and on the earth [below] and in the four directions, all are equally permeated with the light of the En Sof, blessed be He, for He is on the earth below exactly as in the heavens above. For all, [heaven and earth] are within the dimensions of space which are completely nullified in the light of the En Sof, blessed be He, which clothes itself in it through the attribute of His Malchut that is united with Him, may He be blessed. However, the attribute of His Malchut is the attribute of Tzimtzum and concealment, to hide the light of the En Sof, blessed be He, so that the existence of time and space should not be completely nullified and there will be no dimensions of time and space whatsoever, even for the lower [worlds].

Now, from the foregoing exposition the verse, "I, Hava'ye, have not changed," will be understood. This means: there is no change [in Him] at all; just as He was alone prior to the creation of the world, so is He alone after it was created. And thus it is written, "You were the same before the world was created; You have been the same,..." without any change in His Essence, nor in His Knowledge, for by knowing Himself, He knows all created things, since all come from Him and are nullified in relation to Him. And as Maimonides, of blessed memory, stated, that He is the Knower, He is the Known, and He is Knowledge itself— all are one. This is beyond the power of speech to express, beyond the capacity of the ear to hear, and of the heart of man to apprehend clearly. For the Holy One, blessed be He, His Essence and Being, and His Knowledge are all absolutely one, from every side and angle, and every form of unity. His Knowledge is not superadded to His Essence and Being as it is in the soul of man, whose knowledge is added to his essence and is compounded with it. For when man studies a subject and knows it, his rational soul was already within him before he studied and knew it, and afterwards, this knowledge was added to his soul. And so, day after day, "Days speak, and a multitude of years teach wisdom." This is not a perfect unity, but a composite. The Holy One, blessed be He, however, is a perfect unity, without any composition and plurality at all. Hence, perforce, His Essence and Being and His Knowledge are all absolutely one, without any composition. Therefore, just as it is impossible for any creature in the world to comprehend the Essence of the Creator and His Being, so it is impossible to comprehend the essence of His Knowledge; only to believe, with a faith which transcends intellect and comprehension, that the Holy One, blessed be He, is completely One and Unique. He and His Knowledge are all absolutely one, and knowing Himself, He perceives and knows all the higher and lower beings [even] unto a small worm in the sea and a minute mosquito which will be in the centre of the earth; there is nothing concealed from Him. This knowledge does not add multiplicity and composition to Him at all, since it is merely knowledge of Himself; and His Being and His Knowledge are all one.

Inasmuch as this is very difficult to envisage, therefore, the Prophet said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts;" and it is written, "Can you by searching find G‑d?..."; and it is written, "Have You eyes of flesh, or do You see as man sees?"— for man sees and knows everything with a knowledge that is external to himself, and the Holy One, blessed be He, by knowing Himself. These are the words of Maimonides. [See Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah and the Sages of the Kabbalah have agreed with him, as is explained in Pardess of Rabbi Moses Cordovero, of blessed memory.]

In the light of what has been said above it is possible to understand the error of some, scholars in their own eyes, may G‑d forgive them, who erred and misinterpreted in their study of the writings of the Ari, of blessed memory, and understood the doctrine of Tzimtzum, which is mentioned therein literally— that the Holy One, blessed be He, removed Himself and His Essence, G‑d forbid, from this world, and only guides from above, with individual Providence, all the created beings which are in the heavens above and on the earth below. Now, aside from the fact that it is altogether impossible to interpret the doctrine of Tzimtzum literally, [for then it] is a phenomenon of corporeality, concerning the Holy One, blessed be He, who is set apart from them [i.e., phenomena of corporeality], many myriads of separations ad infinitum, they also did not speak wisely, since they are "Believers, the sons of believers" that the Holy One, blessed be He, knows all the created beings in this lower world and exercises Providence over them, and perforce His knowledge of them does not add plurality and innovation to Him, for He knows all by knowing Himself. Thus, as it were, His Essence and Being and His Knowledge are all one.

And this is stated in Tikunim, Tikun 57: "There is no place devoid of Him, not in the upper worlds nor in the lower worlds;" and in Ra'aya Mehemna, on the Portion of Pinchas: 'He grasps all and none can grasp Him....He encompasses all worlds,... and no one goes out from His domain; He fills all worlds,... He binds and unites a kind to its kind, upper with lower, and there is no closeness in the four elements only through the Holy One, blessed be He, as He is within them." The meaning of "None can grasp Him," is that there is no one [even] amongst all the "Supernal Intelligences" who can grasp with his intellect the Essence and Being of the Holy One, blessed be He; as it is written in Tikunim, "Hidden One of all the hidden and no thought can grasp You at all." And even in the lower worlds, although "He fills all worlds," He is not as the soul of man within his body, which is grasped within the body to the extent that it is affected and is influenced by bodily changes and its pain, [as] from blows or cold or the heat of fire and the like. The Holy One, blessed be He, however, is not affected by the changes of this world, from summer to winter and from day to night, as it is written, "Even the darkness does not obscure for You, and the night shines as the day," for He is not grasped within the worlds at all even though He fills them.

And this is also the meaning of "He encompasses all worlds." For example, when a man reflects upon an intellectual subject in his mind or upon a physical matter in his thoughts, then his intellect and thought encompass that subject whose image is formed in his thought or in his mind, but they do not encompass that subject in actual fact. The Holy One, blessed be He, however, of Whom it is written, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts...." His Thought and Knowledge of all created beings actually encompass each and every creature; for [His Knowledge] is indeed its life-force and that which brings it into existence from nothingness into being in actual reality.

And "He fills all worlds" is the life-force which clothes itself within the created being. It is powerfully contracted within it according to the intrinsic nature of the created being which is finite and limited in quantity and quality, i.e., its significance and importance. As for example, the sun whose body is finite and limited quantitatively being approximately one hundred and sixty-seven times the size of the globe of the earth; and whose quality and significance, namely, its light, is also limited as to the extent that it can give light, for it cannot illuminate indefinitely since it is a created being. Likewise, all created beings are finite and limited, for "From the earth to the heaven is a journey of five hundred years...." Hence, the life-force which is invested in them is greatly and powerfully contracted, for it must undergo numerous and powerful contractions until there are brought into existence from its power and light created beings, as they are finite and limited.

For the source of the life-force is the "Breath of the mouth" of the Holy One, blessed be He, which clothes itself in the Ten Utterances of the Torah. And the "Breath of His mouth," may He be blessed, could have diffused without end and limit and created worlds infinite in their quantity and quality and given them life forever, and this world would not have been created at all. (For just as the Holy One, blessed be He, is called "Infinite," so are all His attributes and actions [infinite], for "He and His attributes are One,"— i.e., the life-force which emanates from His attributes, namely, Kindness and Mercy and His other holy attributes, by means of their clothing themselves in the "Breath of His mouth," "For He spoke and it was" and "The world is built through kindness" by "The word of G‑d and the breath of His mouth," which becomes a vessel and "garment" for this kindness, "Like the snail whose garment is part of his body." ) The Holy One, blessed be He, however, contracted the light and life-force in order that it should be able to diffuse from the "Breath of His mouth," and invested it in the combinations of the letters of the Ten Utterances and their combinations of combinations, by substitutions and transpositions of the letters themselves and their numerical values and equivalents. For each substitution and transposition indicates the descent of the light and life-force degree by degree, so that it will be able to create and give life to creatures whose quality and significance is lower than the quality and significance of the creatures created from the letters and words of the Ten Utterances themselves, in which the Holy One, blessed be He, in His Glory and Essence, is clothed, for [the Ten Utterances] are His attributes.

And the numerical value indicates the progressive diminution of the light and life-force until there remains from it only the final level which is that of the sum and number of kinds of powers and grades contained in the light and life-force invested in a particular combination of a particular word.

(It is only after all these contractions and others like them, as His Wisdom, may He be blessed, has ordained, that the light and life-force could invest itself even in the lower [created things], such as inanimate stones and dust. Stone, for example, its name even , אבן , indicates that its source is in the [Divine] Name which numerically equals fifty-two ב"ן , with an א , one, added to it from another Name, for a reason known to its Creator. Now the name ב"ן is itself of very high worlds, yet through numerous and powerful contractions, degree by degree, there descended from it a life-force very greatly condensed, until it could clothe itself in a stone. And this is the soul of the inanimate being, which gives it life and brings it into existence ex nihilo at every instant, as has been explained previously. This is the principle of "He fills all worlds" which differs from the principle of "He encompasses all worlds.")

And each power and grade [of the life-force] can create beings according to its level, even unlimited in quantity and quality, to give them life forever, since it is the power of G‑d which issues and emanates from the "Breath of His mouth" and there is no restraint [to Him]. But, their quality will not be on a level as high as the quality and level of the creatures which could be created from the power and degree of the letters themselves.