Ramchal on the Sephirot (3)

Recall that Ramchal likened the Sephirot to a “persona” that God assumes when He interacts with the world which conceals His actual “personality”. In other words (as Ramchal explained it elsewhere), the Sephirot are like “properties that God assumed for Himself for the sake of creation which aren’t intrinsic to Him” (Klallim Rishonim 1), and which only “come into play (literally, are “revealed”) when Ein Sof (i.e., God Himself) is restricted” (Ma’amar HaVichuach 126) or, in keeping with the persona theme, when His personality is over-covered by His persona.

Ramchal also likens the Sephirot to “pipes” or “containers” (Klalei Chochmat HaEmet 3), to “a supernal shaft of light” and to a series of “outpourings of holiness” that shine downward (Klallim Rishonim 1), and to a representation of “the mystery of the human form” (Klallut Shorshei HaChochma). The latter refers to the Kabbalistic subject known as Adam Kadmon or “Primordial Man” which we’ll discuss later, but for our purposes now it speaks to the fact that the Sephira configuration in its entirety serves as a single “body” of phenomena which, like a human body, accomplishes things with all its separate parts working in tandem.

Nevertheless, we’re also to know that despite any depictions, “the Sephirot are spiritual and arcane phenomena, which, like their Creator, cannot be fathomed” (Klallei Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 2).

Now, as far as what they do, they “carry along an emanation from God” (Klallei Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 1). We addressed God’s emanations above and pointed out how important it is for us to understand the whole notion, so we’ll now see what Ramchal says about it.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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