Since God wanted to prepare His created beings for the aforementioned exalted levels, He required there to be four grades (of them) that were to unfold out of each other, known as the “mineral”, “vegetable”, “animal”, and “verbal” (beings).
Certain stages of existence had to have come into being before the ultimate created entity, humankind (i.e., “verbals”), could. They’re minerals, vegetables, and animals. Otherwise the human soul would sit stunned in full wonder, speechless and senseless, before the living presence of God Almighty, because it would have caught sight of it too soon.
These entities correspond to the birth-cycle in that the fetus first undergoes a “mineral” (fertilized egg) stage, from which it advances to a “vegetable” (blastocyst) one, and then proceeds on to a more “animal” (embryonic) stage, until it reaches the “verbal”, fully conscious stage.
Those beings correspond to the four degrees of the ratzon l’kabel which the upper worlds are differentiated by.
For as we’ll see, minerals barely have a ratzon l’kabel, vegetables have some but not much, animals have quite a bit more but not all that much, while we humans have a great deal.
For, even though desires are mostly expressed through the ratzon l’kabel found in the fourth (i.e., “verbal”) level, that level can’t come about all at once. It needs to gradually pass through and unfold out of the three preceding ones in order to come to full fruition.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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