R’ Ashlag’s “Introduction To The Zohar”: Chapter 13


But we’d still need to understand (a few things about) this. How in fact could the ratzon l’kabel have been a part of God’s original intentions for creation (altogether), given that it’s so defiled and impure while God’s Being is so unfathomably and indescribably purely One (i.e., integrated and without contradiction)?

That is, how could a pastiche of desires like wanting to take-in and not wanting to give-out at the same time have been a part of God’s Being on any level?  After all, the two are so antithetical that it seems blasphemous to see them as intertwined. But as we’ll soon see, there’s no real contradiction there.


The point is that as soon as it occurred to God to create the cosmos, that very thought alone brought it about in its entirety. For God doesn’t need to resort to action per se the way we do (to bring anything about; for the reality of it just has to occur to Him and it’s instantly and automatically fulfilled).

Know that God’s methods, scopes, and domains are utterly unlike our own. For while things physical demand time, place, and person, the ethereal stuff of His formless and primal dominion does not. His considerations make things so; His Self immerses itself in its Self and something other than Him appears in coat and hat. And that was true of the whole of reality as well.

So, as soon as (He decided to create them,) all the souls and worlds that were to have been created, were created — full of all the goodness, delight, and tranquility planned for them. And they were also already in the ultimately perfect state they’re destined to be in when everything is rectified in the end — which is to say, when the soul’s ratzon l’kabel is fully rectified and is transformed into pure bestowance, in complete affinity with the Emanator.

Past, present, and future are one and the same to the Eternal, (so) the future functions as the present for Him, and all the impediments of time are irrelevant to Him.

For not only was the whole of past and present reality already in God’s mind (i.e., His intentions) — all of what seems to us to be a gathering, impending reality was there, too, at that point, including the furthermost, ultimate end. And that’s the point at which there’ll no longer be the appearance of a ratzon l’kabel in the face of a bestowing God; when there’ll no longer be the contradistinction between beginning and end we now imagine there to be because we don’t understand how above cause and effect God is.


Hence, the matter of the corrupt ratzon l’kabel — which is a tsurah (that’s diametrically opposite to God’s own, since it’s the embodiment) of separation from the Infinite — was never at issue. In fact, the opposite is true. For the essential affinity (between our souls and God) that’s to be revealed when all is fully rectified came about automatically, thanks to God’s Infinite nature. Our sages depicted this mystical phenomenon with the expression, “Even before the world was created, He and His name were one” (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer, Ch. 3).

For the tsurah of separation (from the Infinite) found in the ratzon l’kabel never actually manifested itself in the souls that emanated from the (i.e., from God’s) intent to create (the cosmos). Instead, they (always) enjoyed the Devekut with Him that is essential affinity, in keeping with the stated mystical phenomenon of “He and His name (are) one”.

Ashlag’s point is that beginning and end are one and the same in God’s being. Thus, while we certainly experience a ratzon l’kabel, the irony of its existence is outside of God’s consideration, and might as well not exist as far as His experience goes. For both, “before the world was created” and subsequent to its being created and then being undone, “He (His being) and His Name (what He’s known for; i.e., creation en toto)”, will prove to have always been conjoined, with nothing actually interposing between them — even a ratzon l’kabel.

For as we’ll start to examine in the next chapter, there will prove to be three cosmic “eras”: the first, which concerns itself with the “period of time” before time and the cosmos itself were created; the second, which concerns itself with the period of (actual) time that the cosmos exist; and the third, which concerns itself with the “period of time” when time and the cosmos will no longer exist. And Ashlag’s point is that the three have already played themselves out in full in God’s Being, though not in ours.

So, yes, there is a ratzon l’kabel as far as we’re concerned, which is no small matter; but, no, the ratzon l’kabel hasn’t a place in God Being, so it doesn’t contradict the fact of Him being the Ultimate Benefactor.

(c) 2010 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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