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Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: Or Ein Sof


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

 

 

 

 

 

Kadmon
The Primordial One

Kadmon is the third of the three general levels of Divine essence in life which precede the actual beginning of the creative process (the tzimtzum): YachidEchadKadmon.

This level is an immediate consequence of the two previous stages of Ana Emloch and Ein Sof described above. In the words of (the opening passage of) the Zohar: “In the beginning of the ‘decree’ of the King, He engraved an engravement in the higher brilliance.” “The beginning of the decree of the King” refers to the thought and desire of Ana Emloch. “The higher brilliance” (tehiru ela’ah) is the level of Ein Sof described above. The “engravement” within the higher brilliance refers to the level of Kadmon.

This is the level referred to in the writings of the disciples of the Arizal as Olam Hamalbush (“The World of the Garment”). Olam Hamalbush is a figurative idiom (alluding to Psalms 104:2: “He enclothes His light as a garment”), used to refer to the Divine “superplan” for all Creation before the tzimtzum of God’s infinite light. God’s desire to rule is seen to be “enclothed” (as by a “garment”) by this Divine “superplan” (just as the innermost desire in the heart of man is enclothed by his conscious plan of how to realize his will).

This “superplan” of creation is referred to in Sefer Yetzirah as Rela Shearim (“231 Gates”):

Rela Shearim are the 231 possible two (non-identical) letter combinations generated by the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (according to the mathematical expression: 22 . 21 over 2. Each combination (“gate”) possesses two permutations, its “face” (when the first letter of the permutation precedes the second in the order of the alef-beit) and its “back.” These 462 permutations constitute the entirety of two-letter subroots found in the Hebrew language.

ISefer Yetzirah, the Rela Shearim are logically arranged in an array of 22 alef-beits (see Chilufei Otiyot).

IChassidut, the level of Kadmon is elucidated by the phrase: “He conceived within Himself in potentia all that was destined to become actual.”


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