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August 14, 2010

3. The Zimzum & The Supernal Point 


Rabbi Isaac Luria elaborates upon the Kabbalist teachings of creation.  Rabbi Luria (1984) explains:
… BEFORE THE EMANATIONS WERE EMANATED AND THE CREATURES WERE CREATED, THE UPPER SIMPLE LIGHT HAD FILLED ENTIRE EXISTENCE, AND THERE WAS NO EMPTY SPACE WHATSOEVER. 
Before the beginning, before the Sephira were emanated, the En Soph Aur, the “upper simple light” or “simple boundless light” filled all of existence.  In this condition, there is no empty space.  Everything is “smoothly balanced ... equally in one likeness or Affinity.”  This was a state of perfect symmetry in Negative Existence beyond the level of cosmic manifestation.

Rabbi Isaac Luria describes the process leading to creation:

...  IN HIS SIMPLE AND SMOOTH WILL THE DESIRE AROSE TO CREATE THE WORLD AND TO MANIFEST THE EMANATIONS, TO BRING TO LIGHT THE PERFECTION OF HIS DEEDS AND HIS NAMES AND HIS APPELLATIONS, WHICH WAS THE CAUSE OF CREATION OF THE WORLD.  … IN HIS SIMPLE AND SMOOTH WILL THE DESIRE AROSE.
In this account, the desire arose within the Absolute to manifest the latent possibilities of the En Soph–the “emanations”–the Sephirot with their divine qualities.  “God willed to see God,” and this lead to the first separation.  The cosmos becomes a mirror, a “looking glass universe,” revealing the potencies inherent in the realm of En Soph. 

 A pre-creation process involves the restriction of the light in a middle point, and the withdrawal of the Infinite Light (En Soph Aur) from around this central point—which creates an empty space within En Soph.  Luria writes: 
 

BEHOLD HE THEN RESTRICTED HIMSELF, IN THE MIDDLE POINT WHICH IS IN HIM, PRECISELY IN THE MIDDLE, HE RESTRICTED THE LIGHT. AND THE LIGHT WAS WITHDRAWN TO THE SIDES AROUND THE MIDDLE POINT. AND THERE HAVE REMAINED AN EMPTY SPACE, ATMOSPHERE, AND A VACUUM SURROUNDING THE EXACT MIDDLE POINT. 
 These verses describe the Infinite Light (En Sof Aur) as being restricted within middle point, and the limitless light being withdrawn from around it.  This creates a zero point centre within a false vacuum of empty space (no longer considered the plenum filled with the limitless light.)  Since the Absolute, as En Soph and En Soph contains or encompasses everything, He had to create a space in which He did not exist, in order to create something distinct from Himself.  God, as the Creator, removed Himself from that Space creating a ‘hole’ or form of nothingness, where He (seemingly) did not exist.  This creates a form of ‘nothingness at the heart of Being,’ –within the Macrocosm of a Universe, and the Microcosm, of an individual human being, or I. 
 
K. Zetter, in Simple Kabbalah, explains:
When the idea to create the world arose in the will of En Sof, He withdrew Himself from part of Himself to create a space for Creation to exist in; that is, He created a point of blackness, a vacuum in the centre of His light, in order to create a space for Creation.  It was only a very small space that He created, a “point” as Kabbalists describe it. (p. 81) 


 In A Kabbalistic Universe, Z’en ben Shimon Halevi (1977) similarly describes the pre-cosmic events leading up to the birth of the universe:

Tradition states that God willed to see God and so God’s Will, symbolized by light, shone nowhere and everywhere. ... From God knowing All, God willed the first separation so that God might behold God.  This ... was accomplished by a contraction in Absolute All, so as to make a place wherein the mirror of Existence might manifest. 
 The place that was vacated was finite in that it was limited in relation to the Absolute All that held it.  This act of contraction, or Zimzum, ... brought about the void of Unmanifest Existence even though it was ... the size of a dimensionless dot in the midst of the Absolute.  (pp. 7-8)
In light of modern science, which postulates that the Universe arose from a minute singularity condition, 10 -33 centimetres, out of the void/plenum of the quantum vacuum, at the first instance of time, the Kabbalists from centuries ago were indeed ahead of their times, as other occultists! 

 Luria explains that the light was withdrawn in a “circular form” equally around the central point creating a false vacuum, and that a “Line” of Light then descends into the hollow space of the vacuum.  Luria writes: 

AND BEHOLD AFTER THE RESTRICTION MENTIONED ABOVE, IT DREW FROM THE ENDLESS LIGHT ONE LINE, DIRECT FROM HIS CIRCULAR LIGHT FROM ABOVE DOWNWARDS, AND IT GRADUALLY DESCENDED BY EVOLUTION INTO THAT HOLLOW OR VACUUM.  … AND IN THAT VACUUM HE EMANATED, CREATED, FORMED AND MADE ALL THE COLLECTIVE WORLDS. 
A line of Supernal Light descends from above into the hollow or vacuum created through the Zimzum contraction.  This leads to the sequential unfoldment of the ten Sephirot, and the four world orders of Emanation, Creation, Formation, and the world Made. 

 K. Zetter provides another nice description:

Kabbalists call the creation of the black space the tzimtzum.  Keter, the first sephira on the Tree of Life, represents this act of contraction.  Keter is the darkness, the nothingness. Ein Sof creates the empty space by drawing Himself … in on Himself.  The result is blackness, which is a space in which the Light of God has regressed.  … It is as if God sucked in a part of the light that was Him, and then blew out a smaller stream of it.  The black space created is at the centre of the universe and into this space an emanation is sent.  (pp. 81-82)
A line of Supernal Light thus penetrates into vacated space, which leads to the unfoldment of a series of interpenetrating world orders, all created around a central vacated space!   This suggests a form of nothingness at the heart of being, and a Ray of Light illuminating and bringing forth firstly a supernal triad, and then seven realms of creation (the lower Sephirot) all through four worlds!   These worlds are all latent in negative existence, within the En Soph, but emerge into positive existence through the process of creation and unfoldment.

Next Section

4.  The Lightening Flash

 

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