While Erich Anpin governs through kindness and allows for mitigation, “mitigation can be removed from Zeir Anpin”, our subject of concern, “leaving (harsh) judgment in (its stead, and in) full force, which can (even) cause total devastation, God forbid”.
The point of the matter here is that this judgment-aspect of Zeir Anpin derives from Imma and its own judgment-aspects specifically. And that’s because while “the root of judgments lies above (Imma), it isn’t clearly discernible there, given that kindness holds sway there“. It’s just that “when it reaches (the) Yesod (aspect) of Imma, it reaches a level where it can be revealed’’.
That’s to say that Zeir Anpin’s judgment derives from a very high point, but it only becomes manifest from a lower point — from Imma (“even though Imma isn’t intrinsically connected to judgment” Ramchal adds in his comments) — because that’s the point at which it can manifest itself.
It’s clear then that while harsh judgment (and rah, its this-word “partner-in-crime” one might say) doesn’t manifest itself in the higher reaches, it’s still and all derived from there and expresses itself here. It’s thus analogous to the way lower emotions express themselves in the body while originating in the mind: as when anger, for example, expresses itself in pursed lips, squinted eyes, dilated nostrils and the like, while actually being rooted in one’s thoughts and attitudes.
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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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).