Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: Reshimu

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)

 

Sod Ha’Tzimtzum (“The Secret of ‘Contraction'”)
Three stages of the secret of “contraction”: the “removal” of God’s Infinite Light; the “impression” that God “withdrew” from creation; the “ray” of Divine light radiated into the primordial darkness.

Tzimtzum  Reshimu Kav

 

 

Reshimu
Impression

The reshimu is the residual impression of the infinite Divine light that God “withdrew” from Creation through the process oftzimtzum. Unlike the reshimu of the infinite Divine light and the Divine plan of creation which remained in the avir kadmon, as mentioned above, here the reshimu is sufficiently “weak” and virtually “invisible” (“non-existent”) so as to allow for the existence of independent reality and to serve as its Divine “background.”

The reshimu is compared to the fragrance of the wine which remains in the glass after having been poured out of it.

The reshimu is the consciousness of knowing that one has “forgotten.” It is the consciousness which arouses one to search for that which he has lost, the awareness that God is “playing” with His creation, as it were, a Divine game of “hide and seek.” A forgotten melody lingers in the back of one’s mind, and although he is unable to remember it he continuously searches for it, and whenever he hears a new melody (that might be it) it is the reshimu which tells him that it is not.

Often the reshimu is referred to as the level of God’s transcendent light (sovev kol almin) after the initial tzimtzum. As an intermediate stage between the true transcendent light (before the tzimtzum) and the immanent light (memalai kol almin, which appears after the tzimtzum, in the form of the kav, to be explained), the reshimu is referred to as the “bearer of all worlds” (sovel kol almin). It is the power inherent in Divine unity able to “bear” (“support”) the plurality of finite existence.

The reshimu is the ultimate origin of the “vessels,” the “matter,” of all worlds. It is the first, absolutely abstract “body” of reality. Just as Adam was first created as a lifeless body, “dust from the earth,” before God blew into his nostrils the breath of life, so does the existence of the reshimu precede the entrance of the kav, to be explained.


 

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