Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pesach Break

It’s that time again. I’ll be off-line (largely) until after Pesach, so no new entries until then.

Chag Kosher v’Samaiyach

Ramchal on the Shechina in Klach

Here’s what he offers in this section (in Petach 52) about the Shechina, and it’s a nuanced and complex vision. It’s also a rather arcane one, so we’ll need to explain it as we go along.

He says that the greatness of the Shechina (the female aspect) lies in its enabling the male (aspect) to achieve perfection”. That’s to say that the Shechina has a specific and vitally important — albeit supportive — role in things, while Zeir Anpin (the male aspect) has the main role, to be sure, but it’s still and all dependent upon the Shechina to achieve it [1].

And he then makes the point there in explanation that “the mystical principle behind this is that Imma only rests upon Zeir Anpin when Nukveh is with him.” Let’s explain that.

Recall that Imma is analogous to Binah, Zeir Anpin is analogous to Yesod, and Nukveh is analogous to Malchut. But, what has Binah to do with the Shechina, you might ask? The Zohar speaks of two Shechinas: an “Upper Shechina” which is Binah, and the more familiar “Lower Shechina” which is Malchut (1, pp. 159b-160a). They’re both “Shechinas” because both Binah and Malchut are female aspects, and (in keeping with our point) they both hold sway over realms lower than themselves (Binah holds sway over the Sephirot beneath her, and Malchut holds sway over the lower worlds) yet both are subservient to realms higher than themselves. (Binah is subservient to Keter and Chochma, and Malchut is subservient to Yesod especially as well as all the other Sephirot above them).

His point is that Malchut only enables Yesod to achieve its lofty goal when Malchut’s upper counterpart, Binah or Imma, plays an active role as well. Thus, Ramchal presents us here with multifarious Shechina that’s active yet passive, vital yet accessory, male- yet female-like aspects of the Shechina.


[1]       Also see Iggerot Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 44 and Adir Bamarom p. 4 (at end).

(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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