Shomer Emunim #B16-B17

17 Feb

Shomer Emunim #B16-B17


She’altiel: The expressions of the wise heal. They calm down the ponderings of the heart and the weariness of the thoughts that are constantly struggling to understand why the universe was not ever present as He is. But the question still remains that He could have created it earlier than He did, thereby favoring us with His goodness for a longer period of time. [Although the Gemara states that this world will be here for only 6,000 years, so it really doesn’t matter when Creation begins since the amount of allotted time remains the same. If a longer period of time would be more beneficial, then the question should be why only 6,000 years?] And I saw in the Sefer Adam Yashar, Section 1, what the Ari, Z”LHH, answered on this discussion, but I don’t find it to be adequate. His answer was that before all of the higher levels were able to expand and continue through the process of Creation from the higher levels and downward, this world could not have been created. And once they were connected, this world was created. Therefore, it’s not possible to have caused this world to exist either before or after, than it was. That’s the essence of his answer. And that’s not an adequate answer, because I can still ask why He didn’t emanate the HIGHER worlds earlier? And with that, He WOULD have been able to create the world before the time that He created it. The statement is its own question.

YehoyadaThe answer that the Ari, Z”LHH, wrote; that it was not possible for this universe to begin before or after the specific time that it was created; the source for that stems from Bereshis Rabbah, Chapter 9, Piska (section) 2: “Rabi Tanchuma started a Shiur with: “Everything was made beautifully, in its right time.” (Koheles 3:11) And what that means, is that the world was created in its right time, and that before that, the world was not ready to be created. So Rabi Abahu answered that from here we can understand the phrase: “Hakadosh Baruch Hu built worlds and destroyed them, and He created worlds and destroyed them.” So we see from this Medrash that Rabi Tanchuma made a firm statement that the world was created in its right time. And from this, Rabi Abahu derived that He built worlds and destroyed them, which is really the secret that lies behind the understanding of Hashem’s creation of the higher worlds. As we know from the writings of the Ari, Z”LHH, in what he described as the secret called “The Shattering of the Vessels” (in Sefer Etz Chaim, Gate 8 and 9). And he explained what he meant, that since this world was created in its right time, we’re therefore compelled to say that there were other levels and other worlds that were created first, until it would descend and connect to the creation of this world. And that’s really what the Ari, Z”LHH, answered about the timing of the creation of this world.

However, as to the timing of the very first of the levels, which is the level of Adam Kadmon, to ask the question of why wasn’t it emanated earlier, the Ari, Z”LHH, never meant to answer that question. His reason was because he didn’t want to explain it in its entirety as it needed to be explained, for Chazal said (in Mesechta Chagigah 11b*): “Anyone that tries to ponder 4 things, it would be better had he never come into this world, etc.”, as he talks about in his introduction. But to help you out of your confusion, I’ll give you an adequate explanation as to what he meant.

[*Chagigah 11b, Mishna: “You don’t discuss intimacy with more than 3 people, you don’t discuss Creation with more than 2 people, and you don’t discuss the Mercavah even with 1 person; unless the person is wise and understands by Himself. Whoever looks at the following 4 things, it would be better had that person never been created: What is above [What existed before Creation], what is below [What will be after this world], what is inside, and what is outside. And any person that is not careful about how he honors Hashem, it would be better had that person never come into this world.” Gemara: “You don’t discuss Creation with more than 2 people,” how do we know this? Because Chazal told us that it says in the Possuk (Devorim 4:32): “You might inquire about times long past, going back to the time when Hashem created Man on Earth, exploring one end of the Heavens to the other. Has anything this great {the Makos, Yetzi’as Mitzrayim, Kriyas Yam Suf, Har Sinai, etc.} ever happened before or even ever been heard of?” One individual may ask that question, but not two. We might think that a person could therefore, ask what was before creation, so it comes to teach us that the Possuk says from the DAY that Hashem created Heaven and Earth. I might think that a person may not ask about the first six days of creation, so it comes to teach us that one MAY ask about the early days that were from the beginning of Creation and onward. We might think that a person could ask what is above [What existed before creation], what is below [What will be after this world], what is inside, and what is outside; so it comes to teach us that one may inquire about anything from: “…one end of the Heavens to the other.” One may inquire about anything from one end of Heaven to the other, but not what is above the Heavens or below.”

You should know, that before anything was created, when Hashem, Y.S., alone existed; there was no such thing as “time”, for time by itself doesn’t have its own existence. Time is the connection and sequence of events that occurs and continues. That’s what falls into the realm of time, which is categorized into three different components of time. Past, present and future. Obviously, since time is accumulative, more time has passed by now than had accumulated in the past. However, at the stage when there was nothing else other than Hashem that existed, time did not yet exist. For if you would say that time DID exist, then just like we say that Hashem, Y.S., has no beginning, we would have to say that time has no beginning either. You’re going to fall into a very deep pit, [because since time is a sequence of events, you may think to ask what existed before Hashem.] because you’re going to end up saying that Hashem, Y.S., continues His own existence every day. And that He changes in time, for He’s older today than He was yesterday. And that is not true because He is eternally One before He created the universe and after the universe will cease to exist. Time does not change Him. And THAT’S what Chazal said at the end of the first Perek of Mesechta Yevamos, Page 16b; on the Possuk: “I was young, and I aged.” (Tehilim 37:25); “Who said this Possuk? If you say that this is a quote from Hashem, does Hashem ever get old? Was it Dovid Hamelech who said this? Did Dovid get so old? [Dovid Hamelech only lived for 70 years.] So it was the Malach in charge of Creation that said it.” [Apparently it was The Malach Matat, the master of all Malachim.] So you see from this discussion in the Gemara, that you cannot describe Hakadosh Baruch Hu as getting old, because time does not change or effect Him at all. Even though we say that He was, is and will always be; never the less, He has no relationship to time, because His “was” did not pass, His “is” is not in a moment, and His “will be” is not in the future. [Hashem is “was, is and will be”, all in one. Hashem is “outside the realm of time”.] And that’s the way the Ramban, Z”L, phrased it on Page 55a [of the Perush Ramban] on (Possuk 3:13, of) Parshas Shmos. There’s also a Drasha (in Shmos Rabbah 3:6) that says: “Reb Yitzchok said: “Hakadosh Baruch Hu said to Moshe: “Tell them I that was, and now I am He, and I am He that will always be.” That’s why the Possuk says: “I will be”, three times.” What Reb Yitzchok meant was that since there is no change or any other power within Him, past and future are all within Hashem’s present, and time therefore never passes for Him. Therefore, all the categories of time [past, present and future] really have but one name, which shows that He is that which causes existence.” So we understand from this that the Creator is not within time. Not past and not future. And the same thing was written by the author of the Sefer Asarah Ma’amoros – Ten Sayings, in the discussion called Eim Kol Chai – The Mother of All Life, Section 1, Siman 16. Refer there for more research.

And one of the most amazing things about His simple Oneness, is that He is One, without it ever expanding through time. So apparently, we must admit that time began after Creation. And even though Man thinks and imagines in his mind, that prior to Creation there was a period of time that had no limits, that is absolutely not so. That is a product of deceptive imagination. The imagination thinks that time existed at that stage, even though the truth is that it did not. This was already established. (See [the Rambam’s introduction to Pirkei Avos, known as] the Rambam’s 8 Chapters, Chapter 1.) The Ari, Z”LHH, also wrote at the end of the Sefer Mavoh HaShe’arim – Introduction to The Gates (Gate 6, Section 2, Chapter 10), that Man’s power of imagination will occasionally imagine deceptive thoughts and things that are impossible, such as painting a picture in the mind and imagining a person with his head in the skies and his feet on the ground, or a boat made of steel that can fly, and similar nonsense. The same goes for the subject that we’re presently discussing, for the imagination paints a picture of past and future for the stage before Creation, even though the intellect is positive that that is not true. That’s because it is impossible for Hashem, Y.S., to be subject to a change in time, as I already wrote. And since THAT is a difficult concept to comprehend, how can we possibly paint a picture of the stage prior to Creation without a before and after. Therefore, Chazal forbade to look [ponder] at what is above [What existed before Creation], what is below [What will be after this world], what is inside, and what is outside. And for this reason, the Rav {the Ari}, Z”LHH, did not wish to investigate deeply or go through a lengthy discussion on this subject.

The predominant rule is that since the truth is that time did not exist when The Infinite was alone, there’s no room at all to ask such questions such as why Hashem didn’t emanate Adam Kadmon before the time that He actually emanated it. That’s because before He emanated Adam Kadmon, there WAS no before, for “before and after” are descriptions of time, and time did not exist then. So one cannot refer to that as having an actual before and after, but rather uses the words before and after as a way to make that stage easier to talk about. So I’ve hereby explained to you what the Ari, Z”LHH’s intentionally vague explanations meant. You’ll find that the same thing was clearly written by his students’ student, R’ Moshe Azaria MiPano, Z”L, in his Sefer Yonas Alam, Chapter 2, that when trying to understand these deep concepts, keep in mind that there was NO time nor any order of time. Refer there for more research. He also wrote in a few places in that same Sefer; in Chapters 12, 20 and 80; that the Sefiros of Atzilus were outside the realm of any order of times, and that there was no time period before then either. Refer there for more research. The remaining Mekubalim say exactly the same thing. That whenever we use terms such as Hashem’s intention “before” X was such and such, and “after” X He did such and such, and that “after” that, etc., is so that the student can have some direction for structure and sequence while learning. Or when we use terms such as His intention in creating Nature and Cause & Effect, those terms are used to simplify our explanations so that those that are learning will understand, and be able to simplify and paint a distinct picture in their mind. Not that we wish to inquire as to His thoughts and actions before time, for they are above and beyond any sort of time. And His thought and action were actualized the instant that Hashem’s Will desired something to be, for Hashem’s Will and desire actualize at the moment of conception. So if that’s the case, there’s no semblance of any sort of time even by the Sefiros. Accordingly, it’s not difficult to conceive the concept that Chazal said (Bereshis Rabbah, 8:2) that the Torah preceded the universe by two thousand years, because they didn’t mean two thousand years in the actual sense of time. And as is explained in [the section of the Zohar called] Adra Rabbah, Page 128, that Keser is the Torah that preceded the world – which is Zera Anpin, two thousand years – which is Abba Ve-Ima, as is well known. But this is not the place to elaborate on this subject. Let the wise gain wisdom. [We explain these things so that those who wish to understand can become wise.]

Copyright © 2016 Shaul Taub

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