Let’s explain the worlds of Akudim, and their associated terms the worlds of Nikkudim and of Verudim.
As Ar”i indicates, “it is explained by the scriptural passage in which Jacob says, ‘I saw in a dream that the rams who mounted the sheep were banded (Akudim), dotted (Nikkudim), and spotted (Verudim)’ (Genesis 31:10)…. They begin with Akudim because this is the light that came out of the mouth of Adam Kadmon, through which the vessels (to be discussed below) began to be revealed as ten internal and surrounding lights, bound together and connected within a single vessel. That is the reason why it is called Akudim, using the expression from the verse ‘… he bound (yakod) Isaac’ (Genesis 22:9)…. The higher lights of the ‘ear’ and ‘nose’ are not mentioned in this passage because the existence of vessels was not revealed in them” . They’re termed Akudim because they’re included in one vessel which thus joins them all together .
Thus, in this first stage, the Sephirot were not yet divisible into separate lights contained in ten vessels; rather, they were experienced as a single vessel comprised of ten Sephira-elements.
The next stage is where the expansion of the lights began, and where from the one vessel that included all ten, the ten Sephirot became separate and distinguishable “dots”. This is what is called “the world of Nikkudim.” It can be said to be a sort of transition stage to the world of the Verudim. The latter is where every sephira becomes comprised of ten of its own, which was repeated over and over again. It is the world of Atzilut, where we find the root of all multiplicity.
 From The Tree of Life pp. 232-233 (with slight changes).
 See Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar ha’Akudim 3.
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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