Thursday, August 31, 2006

R' Ashlag Ch. 61 (Parts 1 & 2)

Chapter Sixty-One:

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman




"That brings us to the question as to why the Zohar wasn’t revealed to the early generations, whose merits were undoubtedly greater than the later ones’ and who were more worthy (of such a revelation than they)? We’d also ask why a commentary to the Zohar wasn’t imparted before the time of the Ari (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, who died in 1572) by one of the kabbalists who preceded him? And most of all, why weren’t explanations of the Ari’s works and of the Zohar unveiled from then to now? How did this generation ever merit such a thing?"
-- His point is that the Zohar should logically have been revealed to earlier generations, going all the way back to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s own. For they would’ve delved into for their own and our benefit, yet it wasn’t. What’s also notable is the fact that the most lucid explanation of the Zohar we have, which is the Ari’s (as all his works serve to explain the Kabbalistic system laid out in the Zohar) has itself gone largely unexplained, until now thanks to Rabbi Ashlag himself. So, what is it that has allowed *us* to merit such a straightforward setting-out of the Kabbalistic system?
-- Rabbi Ashlag’s relatively lengthy response to follow will be based on a lot of the technical material we’d covered to now about the cosmic make-up things. In fact, all we’d learned to now about those things was only set out to bring us to the following.


"The answer lies in the fact that the 6,000 year course of the universe functions as a single partzuf ... "
-- A partzuf is an integrated cosmic configuration (see 44:2). He’s contending that reality as we know it, or the entire second era (see ch’s 14-20, etc.), functions as a single partzuf.

" ... that’s comprised of three (main) elements: a beginning, middle, and end, (made up of the configurations known as) CHaBaD, CHaGAT, and NeHY. "
-- As we pointed out, there are ten sephirot in all: Keter, Chochma, Binah, Chessed, Gevurah, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut (see 41:1). Sometimes, though, the quasi-sephira of *Da’at* replaces that of Keter, since Keter is so subtle, so G-dly that it’s said to be nullified by the Divine Presence itself. Thus Da’at serves to round-out the ten-sephira count. It sits below Binah. (There are other reasons why this configuration excludes Keter -- as well as Malchut, the last sephirah -- but that's beyond our concerns here.)
-- The first configuration, CHaBaD, is termed that because it’s comprised of *CH*ochma, *B*inah, and *D*a’at. It’s the topmost configuration of the partzuf because it contains these mind-elements.
-- The middle configuration, CHaGAT, is comprised of *CH*essed, *G*evurah, and *T*ifferet, and it’s said to be the middle configuration of the partzuf because it contains these heart-elements (much as the heart is in the middle of the body).
-- And the end configuration, NeHY, is comprised of *N*etzach, *H*od, and *Y*esod, and it’s the end because Netzach, Hod, and Yesod lie at the end of the partzuf (i.e., representing the legs and the organ of procreation).

(c) 2006 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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