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Who Knows One?

by Rabbi Moshe Miller

  

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There is one infinite creator, the cause of causes and the maker of all. He is not one in a numerical sense -- since He is not subject to change, definition or multiplicity. He is one in that the number one signifies an independent unit and is the basis of all numbers; the number one is also contained in all numbers. Similarly, the Creator is actually within everything, and everything is within Him. He is the beginning and cause of everything. The Creator does not change, and therefore one cannot add or subtract from Him.

Moreover, His existence is necessary existence (i.e. it is not contingent upon anything else), in the same way that the number one is a requisite for the existence of any other (whole) number. If the number one would cease to be, every other number would also cease to exist. However, if other numbers disappeared, one would continue to exist. There are properties of the number one; similar qualities apply to the Creator. Even if the act ceased to be, the One who acted remains. Because His being is not contingent upon the existence of anything else, were they to cease being, His existence would continue.

The Creator does not change, and therefore one cannot add or subtract from Him
Prior to Creation, there was only the infinite revelation of G-d which filled all existence. This is called the Or Ein Sof -- the Infinite Light -- which is not G-d Himself, only His infinite revelation of Himself. Within this infinite revelation, limited beings could not possibly exist. Accordingly, there was a progressive lessening and constricting of the Or Ein Sof, making room for limited existence.

This progressive constriction, called tzimtzum, brought about various planes of reality -- called, in  Kabbalah, the five worlds. Each "world" is a certain level of concealment of G-dliness, of the Or Ein Sof. From the highest to lowest (i.e. from greater to lesser revelation) they are:

  1. Adam Kadmon, which is the primordial world, or the first level of somewhat finite revelation
  2. Atzilut
  3. Beriyah
  4. Yetzirah
  5. Asiyah. The entire physical universe is the lowest aspect of the world of Asiyah.

In each of the worlds there is an increasingly dim revelation of the Infinite light as it descends further and further and becomes more and more concealed. It is important to note that these worlds do not occupy different geographical places. They are not geographical at all, but rather descending planes of reality.1

Republished from www.kabbalaonline.org

Footnotes

  • 1. From the "Fiftieth Gate" edition of the Zohar, Introduction.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Creation
G-d » Creation
Torah » Kabbalah » Kabbalistic Concepts

Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.