Even though the Sephirot appear as images

Petach 9

אף על פי שנראים הדמיונות בספירות, אף על פי כן אין נראה צורה כצורה גשמית ח”ו, אלא נראה ענין אחד שמובן בו כאילו רואים הצורה ההיא למטה. וזה נקרא ראיית הנשמה, שאין ראייתה כראיית הגוף.

ולכן אין צריך שהנושאים יהיו לפי ראיית הגוף, אלא מציאות הארה אחת, שמובן בה ענין העגול, אם הנראה הוא עגול או יושר, אם הוא יושר, וכן כל שאר התמונות. ולא שתיראה הצורה הגשמית. ואפילו הצורה הרוחנית ההיא אינה עצמית בספירות כלל, אלא בסוד מלכות, המראה הכחות בדרך הזה:

Even though the Sephirot appear as images, still and all they never assume an actual physical form, Heaven forefend! (Instead,) what’s envisioned is understood to represent something one might see (here) below, and it’s termed a “soul depiction” rather than a physical one.

As such, the subjects (of the vision) needn’t correspond to how an object would appear physically. It’s just that a glow of light is envisioned by means of which the concept of (concentric) “circles” is understood (as being referred to) if the vision appears circular, or (the concept of the) “straight line” is understood if it’s straight and the like. No (actual) physical form is seen. In fact, even the spiritual form (envisioned) isn’t intrinsic to the Sephirot themselves whatsoever; it’s (connected to) the mystical import (of the Sephira) of Malchut, which represents these phenomena this way.

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

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