We start off by situating Erich Anpin — the subject of this section — in the continuum of worlds and Partzufim and find that Erich Anpin is the first Partzuf in the world of Atzilut. And when it comes to its relationship to the various combinations of MaH and BaN cited in the previous section, we find that it is comprised of different combinations of MaH and BaN. And we’re told that it is also the root of the rest of Atzilut, as they, i.e., all of the other Partzufim below Erich Anpin, are truly offshoots of Erich Anpin which acts through them. (Petach 90)
Now we explore Erich Anpin‘s characteristics. There are two aspects of Erich Anpin. One is the way it governs with complete Chessed by itself, i.e., without its offshoots. And the other is the way it governs with its offshoots, i.e. the four Partzufim of Atzilut, through Mishpat, which will continue until everything will ultimately return to the essential nature of Erich Anpin, i.e., pure Chessed. (Partzuf 91)
Having touched on the idea of Chessed versus Mishpat (or, Gevurah) we go on to learn that the ultimate goal of the entire order of the Sephirot and their governance is to ultimately bestow utter and perfect beneficence. It’s just that in order to reach this ultimate goal it’s necessary to first go through the entire required cycle until we reach the end. Thus, the universe must first be governed with justice and sinners must be punished in order for complete beneficence to eventually be bestowed. Thus, the justice that must exist before the end is a consequence of the ultimate goal itself, even though the two seem to contradict each other.
But what does this have to do with Erich Anpin? And how might it relate to the lower, related Partzuf of Zeir Anpin? As Ramchal says, this then is the whole matter of Erich Anpin and Zeir Anpin: Erich Anpin represents the mystical notion of utter beneficence which only bestows goodness, yet Zeir Anpin which represents the mystical notion of justice must emit from it. For Zeir Anpin is truly a product of Erich Anpin‘s makeup. (Partzuf 92)
We now return to Chessed versus Mishpat with this. The very fact that judgment emerges for the meanwhile for the sake of utter benevolence alone actually mitigates judgment. For a king’s ultimate goal is to be benevolent. It’s just that judgment is necessary in the world, and why? so as to achieve perfect benevolence in the end, which wouldn’t be the case if the only point of judgment was to take revenge on sinners.
The point is that it’s Erich Anpin’s own makeup that mitigates the judgments of Zeir Anpin by means of Erich’s actions even without also intensifying its irradiations over Zeir Anpin in order to remove the latter’s Judgment. (Petach 93)
That theme continues with the statement that it’s sometimes necessary for benevolence to prevail over judgment and to bring about kindness even when the actual letter of the law wouldn’t call for that — in order for the world to survive. This is when the irradiation of Erich Anpin prevails over Zeir Anpin and removes its strict judgments completely. (Petach 94)
Since Zeir Anpin is derived from Erich Anpin we must now understand two things about Erich Anpin. First, those aspects of Erich’s governance that are based on its intrinsic nature, that is, how Erich intrinsically governs through its characteristic Chessed nature.
Next — and this will call for a lot of explanation — in light of the fact that Erich Anpin is the root of Zeir Anpin, how we’re only to consider Erich’s governance by means of its “skull” and “brain” as well as the other Tikkunim according to their functions in light of the strength of Chessed. But when it comes to the generation of Zeir Anpin from Erich we’re to consider “the three heads”, i.e., “crown”, “cavity”, and “brain” and all the other Tikkunim that generate Tikkunim in the case Zeir Anpin. (Petach 95)
(c) 2015 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).