Each to its Own Recipe

But, what’s going on here? Why break down the Tetragrammaton into these variations? The most obvious point behind it is to reiterate the idea offered above that Adam Kadmon (and everything following in its wake) always and forever follows the sequence of the four letters of the name Havayah, i.e., the Tetragrammaton (Petach 31).

It’s obvious, though, that Ar”i, who first spoke of this phenomenon in full (though it’s cited in the Zohar), understood that there’s the Tetragrammaton as its is put simply and there’s the Tetragrammaton in all its complexity; and that the breakdown of the four letters to AV, SaG, etc. is an expression of that complexity which calls for analysis and a setting down of what goes where, and to what end.

But Ramchal has a unique perspective on this in Iggerot Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at (8). As he puts it, each phenomenon in the upper realms “needs a particular combination of Lights, and so for example, (one might require) a combination of 10 aspects of one Sephira, 3 of another, 5 of another, etc., in order to bring about the action that this combination alone can which none other could (whereas other phenomena would require other combinations)”. Then he points out that we find the same factor at play in nature, where each phenomenon requires a specific combination of ingredients without which the phenomenon wouldn’t do what it’s expected to.

So, in a manner of speaking, each PartzufAdam Kadmon, Atzilut, Briah, etc. — requires a specific “recipe” of ingredients: the 72 letters of AV, the 63 of SaG, etc. That’s to say that they each require the input of the Tetragrammaton, but in specific combination, and that’s what’s under consideration here.

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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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).

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