Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: Echad

The Stages of the Creative Process
from God’s Infinite Light to Our Physical World

 Introduction
 Or Ein Sof (“God’s Infinite Light”)
 Sod Ha’Tzimtzum (“The Secret of ‘Contraction’”)
 Adam Kadmon (“Primordial Man”)
Akudim, Nekudim, Brudim (“Binding, Points, Connection”)
Keter D’Atzilut (“The ‘Crown’ of Emanation”)
Olam Ha’Atzilut (“The World of Emanation”)
 ABiYA (The Four Worlds: Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah)

Or Ein Sof  (“God’s Infinite Light”)
Ten stages of God’s Infinite Light before the beginning of the creative process.

Atzmut Yachid  Echad Sha’ashuim
Atzmi’im
Aliyat
Haratzon
Ana
Emloch
Ein
Sof
Kadmon Avir
Kadmon
Adam Kadma’ah
Stima’ah

 

Echad
The One

Here God and His “innate ability” becomes revealed.

In general, there are two levels of this revelation: “the light that shines to Himself” and “the light that shines to the other.”

The light that shines to Himself” refers to the sha’ashuim atzmi’im, to be described. “The light that shines to the other” refers to the “arousal” within God’s infinite light (as revealed to Himself) to shine and bestow goodness to others. The meaning of “the light that shines to the other,” is thus “…for the sake of the other,” for no other is yet in existence.

Herein lies the secret of Echad. Even before the beginning of the creative process, from the moment, as it were, that God desires to shine His infinite light to an other there is, in truth, an other, though absolutely void of any state of “existence” whatsoever. God and His desire to create (with the implied presence of Creation itself) is here truly One.

In general, the level of Echad is the secret of God’s Essential Name Havayah–the Name that reveals (to Himself) His very Essence–before the beginning of Creation.

Here O’ Israel Havayah is our God Havayah is One.” Our sages teach us that “One” refers to God’s true and absolute unity within His Creation. Here, the level of Echad represents the ultimate origin of this unity before Creation.

In Kabbalah we are taught that the four words “Havayah is our God Havayah is One” correspond to the four letters of God’s Essential Name Havayah. The first two words, “Havayah is our God,” correspond to the higher union of the first two letters ofHavayahyud hei–”the concealed things are to Havayah our God.” The following two words, “Havayah is One,” correspond to the lower union of the second two letters of Havayahvav hei–the revealed things are to us and our children.”

The higher union is that of the sha’ashuim atzmi’im, which possess in themselves two levels corresponding to the two letters yudhei (as will be described). The lower union is that of the two levels of aliat ha’ratzon and ana emloch corresponding to the two letters vav hei (to be described).

As it is the lower union that reflects in particular the secret of “Havayah is One [Echad],” often the level of Echad refers to the union of aliat ha’ratzon and ana emloch in particular.


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