Our first concern when it comes to understanding what happened between the Shevira process (the “Breaking of the Vessels”) and the Tikkun is what happened as a result of the Shevira. And so we learn that that the ability to govern, i.e., to facilitate actions and contribute to a set goal, was taken away from the vessels when they were broken in the course of the Shevira. They also didn’t function as the mystical configuration of a perfect form then. Instead, they functioned as various imperfect phenomena that were unfit to do things fully. It was their source i.e., the name AV, that kept them that way throughout the Shevira process until a new emanation, i.e., the name MaH, came about to perfect them and give them form and function (Petach 54).
Now onward. As we’ll see in this section, exactly 288 sparks of the original light that shone before the Shevira process stayed behind to allow for the Tikkun. We’ll delve into the significance of the specific number of them as well as the process of Tikkun itself in this and the following section.
Let’s begin explaining the significance of the number 288 by first understanding that when two or more names of God come to have the same numerical value albeit by different means, it’s to be understood that this is an instance of a single root which each of its separate elements must be connected to in its own way to be sure, but which in the end it will come to be connected to after all of its experiences. So, we’ll need to explain all of that.
It turns out that the number 288 derives from the numerical value of AV (72) times 4. As Ramchal puts it: this in fact is the mystery of the name that’s termed AV, and that’s contained in each of the four names of names of God depicted by the names and numbers AV (= 72), SaG (= 63), MaH (= 45), and in BaN (= 52). For, even though each separate name has its own way of doing so, each will all arrive at this value. What this shows is that this AV is a root that each must reach in its own way.
This then touches upon the esoteric idea of Erich Anpin and its relationship with the lower Partzufim, as we’re told that the truth of the matter is that this derives from and is analogous to Erich Anpin from which Abba and Imma, Zeir Anpin, and Nukveh derive. Erich Anpin in this instance is an AV whose four separate Yuds produce an AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. And each one of them, i.e., each name AV, Sag, MaH, and BaN, must express the value of i.e., must add up to, its root, which is the name AV, which is their dominant power (Petach 55). We’ll have to explain this, too.
Although the quadrupled number representation of the Tetragrammaton written out as Y, Y-H, Y-H-V, and Y-H-V-Y , which is, i.e., equals the value of, AV which is 72, is contained in all of the names of AV, SaG, MaH, and BaN, still and all the point must be made that only what’s particular to each name is considered intrinsic to it. But in the case of BaN which doesn’t have its own unique value it’s true that what’s there, i.e., the simple spelling of Y-H-V-H, is considered intrinsic to it. This shows that each name has the same value at first in its simple layout, because this is its essential makeup. Nonetheless, when their letters are filled out, their values change, and they become different from one another, each name is given a value of its own based on its specific function. And BaN, which doesn’t have a specific function but takes what’s given it instead, has no other value than the simple spelling of Y-H-V-H, and it joins in with the others in the original general value (Petach 56). We’ll need to explain this, too.
These four instances of AV discussed in the previous Petach which bolster the four Partzufim of Abba, Imma, Zeir Anpin, and Nukveh in Erich Anpin, and which are removed from harm, are the essence of the “Chariot” , i.e., the entire configuration of Partzufim. It’s here that the “Throne” “bears its bearers”, as we’ll explain.
It thus became necessary for 288 sparks of holiness remaining behind after the breaking of the vessels to descend from there so as to bolster and sustain the vessels that were descending in the course of the breaking process so that there wouldn’t be utter annihilation, and so that there’d be the possibility for a way of returning and being repaired instead.
Ramchal then begins to wax more philosophical. As a result of those 288 sparks, the phenomena of this world came to be such that a single power, i.e., the Shechina, would remain so that the world wouldn’t be destroyed, God forbid, and so that what had been damaged could be repaired through this remaining power (Petach 57).
And then he begins to move us toward the next section and the Tikkun by saying that Malchut in the Sephira configuration or Nukveh in the Partzuf configuration only becomes beautiful and delightful when Yesod or Zeir Anpin is with her, for she’s only made complete by means of Yesod or Zeir Anpin. But when Malchut or Nukveh is without Yesod or Zeir Anpin, she’s the source of all sorts of deficiency and “sadness”, yet when Malchut or Nukveh is with Yesod or Zeir Anpin, she’s the source of all sorts of joy for the male, or for Yesod or Zeir Anpin, himself.
Accordingly, at first, i.e., in the course of the breaking of the vessels, everything was in the mystical configuration of BaN, which is Nukveh or Malchut without the male, i.e., without Yesod or Zeir Anpin, and that resulted in “sadness”. And the “six directions” contained in Zeir Anpin: Chessed, Gevurah, Tipheret, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, didn’t face Malchut or Nukveh, because they weren’t yet delightful. But when Yesod or Zeir Anpin assumes the mystical configuration of MaH in the course of the Tikkun, she, i.e., Malchut or Nukveh, will be perfected and will herself inspire delight in the male, i.e., in Yesod or Zeir Anpin, which is the Tikkun process itself (Petach 58). We’ll do what we can to explain all this likewise.
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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