Ramchal understands the face as representing the “vessels” (or, “receptacles”) as opposed to the Lights, and as elements of “the Trace environment” as opposed to the Line. And he introduces a new element to the mix aside from the face and its apertures: the face’s “radiance” (זיו).
Without taking too many liberties with his ideas we’d offer that that’s to say that the face proper is only the stage for what’s to occur. The actor, if you will, is the Light of the Ein Sof (i.e., the Line) that pierces through the face in the form of the “senses” produced within the apertures (and which like all actors, prod and react to others). These senses perform by governing the Partzufim that will appear after Adam Kadmon serves its function, much the way the soul “performs” upon the “stage” of the human body.
The character produced, if you will, is the face’s “radiance” — what we’d also term an individual’s “character” or “personality”, i.e., what “shines through” when he or she interacts with animation. In fact, it’s the product of the interactions of the senses, the face, with the universe that experiences it.
He then makes the point what there’s a qualitative difference, though, between the Lights which pass through the apertures and the face’s radiance, which we’ll explore next.
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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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).