Here’s how Ramchal depicts the process.
The first thing to realize is that the World of Nikkudim, which we’ll be concentrating upon here and is the “theater” upon which the Breaking of the Vessels played itself out, was a sort of temporary way-station between Adam Kadmon, which we discussed before, and the Worlds of Atzilut, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah, which we’ll be concentrating on from here on.
As he worded it in his comments to Petach 36:
“This is the way Atzilut developed: the Supernal Will began to conceive of it …. And while it was beginning to be conceived of, before it took actual form… the lights of Nikkudim came about, which corresponded to an as-yet incomplete Atzilut. And only then was the actual form of Atzilut completed”. That’s to say that “the World of Nikkudim … emerged while the form of Atzilut was still incomplete”.
And the Zohar depicted the temporary nature of this realm, Ramchal points out here, with the statement that, “when the Craftsman struck with His hammer, He produced sparks on all sides … (which) came out as flashes that shone and were then immediately doused” (Zohar 3, p. 292b).
(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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