Rabbi Shneur Zalman of LiadiThe Alter Rebbe Parshat Ki-Teze 5565-1805 (1) second version
Indented text by the translator
The Ari writes in The Tree of Life, “Primordial Man’s single light encompasses all the worlds of Emanation, Creation, and Formation, all the way down to the ‘feet’ of Action.” On the other hand, the world of Emanation’s light is like a severed thread. This is due to the fact that the single light of Primordial Man embraces them all in a single glance.
Even the lowly feet of the world of Action were envisioned by antecedent thought’s fleeting glimpse. Every detail present in the four worlds arose as an integrated whole in God’s antecedent thought.
Emanation’s lights, by contrast, are confined within its world. While they are considered infinite, that infinity is expressed only in the world of Emanation. Therefore they are referred to as “a severed thread.”
Feet, of course, are the lowest extremity of the body. In this discussion, both space and time are seen as an interlocking continuum; something materializes when its appointed time arrives. The generations immediately preceding the Messianic redemption are called the heels of the Messiah.
As a result, even the feet of Action are enclothed by His thought: a radiation of Primordial Man’s light is also extant there. That is because all that would transpire in this lowest level also ascended in His antecedent thought. The upshot is that Primordial Man’s external facet is the origin of every detail in the four worlds. It likewise acts as the source for differentiation in the four worlds’ sub-vessels.
A Million Lights
There are 10 sefirot: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Kindness, Severity, Beauty, Victory, Splendor, Foundation, and Kingship. Each sefira contains an element of all the others. And each sub-sefira incorporates yet another series.
In the world of Emanation, a total of five sub-series exist for each of the 10 attributes. That translates into 100,000 varied expressions for each attribute. Wisdom of Wisdom of Wisdom of Wisdom of Beauty represents one example.
A sefira consists of two elements: its light and vessel. Each has an independent source. Lights derive from the ten hidden sefirot that existed prior to the great withdrawal of the Infinite Light. Vessels also have a pre-withdrawal source—the residue of the withdrawn light.
Both the above origins, though, function in potentia. Here we are concerned with revelation in actuality. As such, even the origin must possess an aspect of reality. That’s the role of Primordial Man. It embodies a paradox: on the one hand, every detail of reality exists there. Yet at the same time they are a single unit within a greater whole, only later emerging as independent entities.
His glance envelops all their particulars as a single unit, contained within a solitary thought. As a result, each and every detail is integrated. Afterwards they separate into distinct particulars in the system of worlds.
“Primordial Man’s single light encompasses all the worlds of Emanation
The First Book of the Zohar, page 117, side a;
Eitz Chaim, portal 1, chapter 4; ibid., portal 3, chapter 2.
all the way down to the ‘feet’ of Action
Mikdash Melech on The Second Book of the Zohar, page 258, side a.
Emanation’s lights, by contrast, are confined within its world.
Eitz Chaim, portal 42, chapter 14.
the heels of the Messiah.
The Book of Psalms, chapter 89, verse 52;
The Second Book of the Zohar, page 258, side a;
Midrash Tehilim, chapter 18, verse 1;
Pesikta Rabbatei, chapter 15;
Emek HaMelech, portal Olam HaTohu, chapter 66, page 37, column b.
A Million Lights
There are 10 sefirot
Sefer Yetzirah, chapter 1, section 4;
Tikunei Zohar, introduction, page 17, side a;
Eitz Chaim, portal 1, section 2.
Each sefira contains an element of all the others.
The Second Book of the Zohar, page 185, side b;
Raya Mehemna, The Third Book of the Zohar, page 108, side b;
Tikunei Zohar, chapter 47, page 83, side b;
Pardess Rimmonim, portal 24, chapter 10.
A sefira consists of two elements: light and vessels.
Eitz Chaim, portal 2, chapter 3; ibid., portal 4, chapter 1; ibid., portal 40, chapter 1.
Lights derive from the ten hidden sefirot that existed prior to the great
The First Book of the Zohar, page 15, side a;
Avodat HaKodesh, volume 1, chapter 2;
Pardess Rimmonim, portal 3, chapter 1.
Vessels also have a pre-withdrawal source—the residue of the withdrawn light.
Zohar HaRakiya, page 15, side a, on parshat Bereishis, page 3, side a;
Mikdash Melech on The First Book of the Zohar, page 15, side a.
the residue of the withdrawn light
Eitz Chaim, portal 1, section 2;
Emek HaMelech, portal Sha’ashuei HaMelech, chapter 1, page 1, column a.
His glance envelops all their particulars as a single unit, contained within a
Avodat HaKodesh, volume 4, chapter 3.