(This will expand upon this entry).
Here are the details that we’d need to know in order to grasp the full import of Sh’virat HaKeilim. We’d first need to recall that Adam Kadmon was infused by a number of “lights” that ran the length and breadth of it, and which eventually emitted out of its “ears”, “nose”, “mouth”, and “eyes”. (They also emitted out of the follicles of its “hair”, but Ar”i didn’t address them as they’re too recondite to discuss.)
The lights that emitted from the “eyes” came to settle in a realm that was eventually and ultimately to have been occupied by the world of Atzilut (and then by the worlds of Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah) but which at this crucial point came to be termed the (short-lived, as we’ll learn) World of Nikkudim.
Like all worlds, the World of Nikkudim was likewise comprised of ten vessel-Sephirot. But there proved to be a fundamental difference between its first three and its final seven. The first three formed themselves into a sideways triad with a left, right, and center point, while the final seven all stood in a single upright column. While the three did not shatter (though they did experience s degree of degradation, so to speak, and descended into the realm that was to be occupied by the World of Atzilut) the latter seven shattered and plunged to the realm that was eventually to be occupied by the Worlds of Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah. Those broken vessels — which were nonetheless infused with 288 “holy sparks” as we’ll see below — then represented the ten kings spoken of before who reigned for a time but then died.
Our job in this world, by the way, is to enable what had descended so ignobly to Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah to ascend to Atzilut, to allow for the repairing of the “degradations” that were experienced there, and to enable all of that to soar upward.
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
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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).