Shomer Emunim #64-65

17 Sep

Shomer Emunim #64-65


Reminder: the translation is by;
 The Horonsteipler Rav; Rabbi Mordechai Twerski, Shlita,
Edited & transcribed by his talmid, Shaul Taub.
Brackets are notes by Rabbi Twerski, Braces are editors’ notes.

She’altiel: I just now remembered that this has always bothered me. I cannot fathom what Chazal meant to say when they said that there is this “Shiur Komah” – this “Divine Structure”, to the Creator of the beginning. [What does it mean that Hashem has a “structure”?] So, I don’t want you to move away until you explain to me clearly what they meant by this.

Yehoyada: We have learned in the Sefer Pirkei Heichalos [one of the earliest Sifrei Kabbalah, attributed to Rabi Yishmael HaKohen Gadol, one of the great Tannaim] Rabi Yishmael said to his students: “Rabi Akiva and I concur that anyone that understands the Shiur Komah shel Yotzer Bereshis (the Divine structure of the One who formed creation*), is guaranteed to merit Olam Habbah, as long as he learns it and reviews it every single day.” Refer there for more research. It’s obvious that they, Z”L, never intended to reference measurements or size to Hashem, Chas Veshalom. But the truth is that R’ Shrirah Gaon and his son R’ Hai Gaon responded to a question that was asked of them by the Chachamim of the city of Pas (see Sha’arei Teshuvah, Section 122) and said that you cannot take [Rabi Yishmael’s] statement at face value. These are mountains upon which all the great hidden wisdoms depend on. And as this was phrased in the Sefer Toras HaOlah [attributed to Mahram Ba’al Haga’os], Section 2, Chapter 2, in the 3rd explanation, that: “To understand the secret of Shiur Komah in any detail, is to understand the entire wisdom of Kabbalah.” [Shiur Komah is a grand overview of Kabbalah in its entirety, which is the blueprint of creation*.]

However, I will try to explain to you the general idea behind this. The first thing you need to know is that all the Chachamim agree that all of creation* is a macrocosm of Man, and Man is a microcosm of creation*. R’ Avrohom Ben Ezra wrote beautifully in Parshas Trumah (Shmos, 25:40), “One that really understands the secret of his own Neshama, and how it integrates with his body, can really use that as a springboard to understand the entirety of the higher levels, because Man is a microcosm of creation*. That’s why Man was ultimately the final act of creation of this physical world. And an indication to this, is that Hashem began with the greatest and ended with the smallest.” (See Bereshis, 33:12) Study also what [R’ Avrohom Ibn Ezra] wrote on Parshas Ki-Sisa (Shmos, 33:21) on the subject of Shiur Komah, and study what’s written at the end of the Sefer Yesod Moreh [by R’ Avrohom Ibn Ezra], as well. Even the Rav of the Moreh Nevuchim {the Rambam} wrote that generally speaking, the entire universe could be referred to as a Shiur Komah – a “divine structure”. He even uses that name as the title of Chapter 72 in the first section of the Moreh Nevuchim, which begins with: “You should know that everything that is found in the entire universe, can be summarized as being within Man, etc.” He continues there with a lengthy explanation comparing the various affairs and physical limbs of Man, to the universe and its components. Also that Hashem Yisborach is as a Neshama to the world like the Neshama is to the body of Man. Study there for more research. Therefore, we understand from this that the whole idea behind the term: “Shiur Komah shel Yotzer Bereshis” – “The Divine Structure of the One who creation*”, according to the way Chazal use it; is that the entire creation* is a macrocosm of the structure of Man and is linked with the Creator, Y.S.. That is the concept of the secret of the Neshama [life force] of creation*.

This very same idea is really what the Mekubalim meant. Only they explain Shiur Komah as being a spiritual structure. For at the level of the world of Atzilus, The Infinite is linked with Adam Kadmon like the Neshama is to the body, and the world of Atzilus as a whole, is altogether a Shiur Komah – a Divine Structural macrocosm of the format of Man. For just like the body of a Man is a Shiur Komah – a Divine Structure, that was created with various limbs and organs to be able to perform various functions, such as an organ for vision, an organ to hear, an organ to speak, an organ to smell, limbs for receiving and giving [to do business], to make things, to move around, to think, to be angry, to be compassionate, and all remaining functions that are contained within the totality of Man. The same applies to the concept of Adam Ha’atzilus (Adam Kadmon – emanated Man) which is a Shiur Komah – a Divine Spiritual Superstructure, the source of all spiritual emanations, which purpose was to perform the necessary functions which would guide and direct all that will subsequently come into existence. And there is no Sefirah or aspect that does not have a specific function, because each one has something within it that the others do not. So one Sefirah can perform a function that another cannot. And just like Man’s actions are really dependent upon his Neshama – his life force, and not on the limbs of his body, because the ability of the hand to function is not dependent on the substance of the hand itself, as there are people that have useless hands because the life force of the Neshama is not connecting to that hand. So we can understand from this, that the actions of the hand is really dependent on the Neshama that shines through and gives life to that hand. The same applies to The Sefiros that have the same type of relationship as the body has to the Neshama. That is, that The Infinite shines through to all The Sefiros and gives each one the power to perform its specific function and the functions of its complimenting Sefiros.

And just like Man’s different functions are dependent on his limbs, and not his Neshama, for the life force that gives energy to the hand is the same life force that gives energy to the eye. Never the less, the function of the hand and the eye are not the same. But rather, each one of the actions depend upon how each limb of the body functions. The eyes’ purpose is to see and the hands’ purpose is to feel, etc. [and yet, they still compliment each other.] The same applies at the level of Adam Kadmon (emanated Man). Any changes that occur do NOT take place in the Neshama (the life force) that’s there, but rather in the Kelim – vessels/conduits, and the Sefiros. They’re not really changes in their essence, but rather in how they’re manifested within the world of Briyah – Creation, and then Briyah within the level of Yetzirah – Formation, and Yetzirah within the level of Asiyah – Action. Through them changes can be found that are discernable.

This is an adequate description of the secret of this concept of Shiur Komah – The Divine Structure. The intent here is to tell us that the performance of functions and the G-dly course of action that has been revealed to us {via Kabballah} in the world of Atzilus, are similar in concept, to the microcosm of a single person’s performance of functions and course of action. It is through this concept that we can understand that The Creator is expressed through the means of Adam Kadmon, just like we say that the Neshama is manifested within the body. Through this process He brings all later things into existence, and He influences and directs them with structure and dimensions. The world of Briyah is also a Shiur Komah – Divine Structure, albeit a 2nd Shiur Komah, i.e. a 2nd level of manifestation towards the direction of all of creation*. The same thing applies to each of the other levels of creation – Yetzirah and Asiyah, because all of the levels are from the same blueprint and have the same imprint, where one is derived from the other. As is written in the Zohar, Parshas Yisro, Page 82b: “We have learned that that which is in a higher level is also in a level below it. The same applies to all of the levels of creation. They are all linked and unified to each other.” So we learn from this that all of the levels (worlds) have a similar format and are a reflection of each other, and that everything that exists in a lower level can be found in a higher level, albeit more spiritual and loftier {more intangible}.

The following is a quote from the Ramban in Parshas Bereshis, 3:22: “You should know and believe that Gan-Eden is really a place that can be found on this physical planet. The same applies to the Etz Hachayim and Etz Hada’as. [There IS a physical place that they can be found on this physical planet.] “…and from there the river flowed out to four mighty rivers…”{Bereshis, 2:10}, and we can identify some of them such as the Euphrates River which flows through our lands and is within the borders that we live; and the Pishon, which is the Nile River in Egypt, as we find in the words of the Rishonim. But really what the Torah is saying, is that what you see in this world has a spiritual parallel in the Heavens with the same names given to them. These then become the foundation for the entire physical world. All these are things that were already previously stated. They bare the imprint and the seal of truth.” (Also study the Sefer Sha’ar Hagmul, which is from the Kisvei Ramban, (The writings of the Ramban) Part 2, Page 295). The same applies to the four spiritual foundations of all that will become basic elements of the physical world: fire, wind, water and earth. There is a parallel of these same terms even at the level of Atzilus. Because really, the attribute of Chesed – compassion, is the spiritual foundation of what becomes water. The attribute of Gevurah – power, is the spiritual foundation of what becomes fire. The attribute of Tiferes – beauty, is the spiritual foundation of air. And the attribute of Malchus – kingship/majesty, is the spiritual foundation of earth. We would also find similar parallels when referring to beasts, animals, birds, metals, and everything that exists. All things have a spiritual root and source from above. This is why certain things are forbidden while others are permissible, some things are appropriate while others are flawed, and some things are Tamei – disconnected from life {dead}, while others are Tahor – connected to life {alive}. You can find these concepts described in detail, in the writings of the Mekubalim. Study them if you really want to understand this wisdom [of Kabbalah], since it’s impossible to make you a master of this subject while standing on one foot. It takes a great deal of time and diligent studying of many Seforim, and Syata Dishmaya – help from above.

Creation* = The entire universe, including all the higher levels that were emanated before it.

Copyright © 2015 Shaul Taub

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