Adam Kadmon inside and out

We’ll begin this part with a statement from Ari about the seemingly out-and-out anthropomorphisms we’ll be using to depict Adam Kadmon. “We must speak in (anthropomorphic) metaphors and images in order to ‘soothe the ear’” [1], i.e., to be able to cogently explain and illustrate things in an actually fully abstract realm.

That having been said we need to know that everything: “has two aspects: one is an expanding spiritual essence, and the other is the ‘vessels’ and ‘limbs’ into which this spiritual essence expands.” But we must realize also that “there are roots above for these aspects”, which is the actually the subject at hand.

Leading up to our investigations we’d put forward that Ari goes on to say that “there are four fundamental aspects to everything: sight, hearing, smell, and speech. These correspond to the four letters of God’s name (spoken of before” [2].

Now let’s see what Ramchal offers about this last point.

“In order for this order (i.e., Adam Kadmon) to be perfect,” he says, “it needs to be a complete Partzuf that’s comprised of (both) an interior and an exterior, which is related to the mystical notions of a body and a soul, or ‘lights’ and ‘receptacles’” (Iggerot Pitchei Chochma V’Da’at 3). Our discussion of that will comprise the essence of this next part.

Ramchal then says the following in Petach 32:

The “face” of Adam Kadmon was formulated to irradiate outward what was arranged within the “body” of Adam Kadmon and which thus function as its interior parts. It was in fact Adam Kadmon’s “senses” that irradiate outward.

In fact, four worlds emerged: those of “vision” which is embodied in Adam Kadmon’s “eyes”, “hearing” which is embodied in Adam Kadmon’s “ears”, “smell” which is embodied in Adam Kadmon’s “nose” and “speech” which is embodied in Adam Kadmon’s “mouth”. The “forehead” likewise emits radiance.

            We’ll now explore the significance of all this.


[1]       See 3:4 and 6:6 above.

[2]       From The Tree of Life pp. 117-118 (with slight changes).

(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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