Beginner Level Kabbalah

Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: Olam Ha'Atzilut

The Stages of the Creative Process
from God's Infinite Light to Our Physical World

 Or Ein Sof ("God's Infinite Light")
Sod Ha'Tzimtzum ("The Secret of 'Contraction'")
 Adam Kadmon ("Primordial Man")
Akudim, Nekudim, Brudim ("Binding, Points, Connection")
Keter D'Atzilut ("The 'Crown' of Emanation")
Olam Ha'Atzilut ("The World of Emanation")
 ABiYA (The Four Worlds: Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah)

ABiYA (The Four Worlds: Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah)
Four stages ("worlds") which emerge out of God's infinite light and culminate in our finite physical universe.


Introduction Arba'ah Olamot
 Olam Ha'Atzilut Olam Ha'Beriah Olam Ha'Yetzirah Olam Ha'Asiyah

Olam Ha'Atzilut
The World of Divine Emanation

Atzilut is the world of Divine emanation, wholly conscious of its Divine origin. The process of "emanation" is described in Chassidut as one of he'elem v'gilui ("concealment and revelation," i.e., the process of revealing the essence of that which had hitherto been concealed). The three lower worlds are all created realms, "something [independent self-consciousness] from nothing [the hidden Divine origin]." The process of "creation" is described in Chassidut as one of etzem v'hitpashtut ("being and extension," as a ray of light extends from the being of the sun, until eventually hiding itself in reality which experiences itself "other" from its source).

As explained above, the world of Atzilut, from the moment of its emanation after the "breaking of the vessels" of the previous world of Tohu, is in a state of perfect and eternal rectification. This is not the case with regard to the three lower worlds, which require our Divine service on earth to redeem the falling sparks of Divinity in them and thereby bring them to a full state of rectification (as that of the world of Atzilut)–"And God shall be King on all the earth, on that day shall God be One and His Name One."

In general, the four worlds correspond to the four letters of the Essential Name Havayah (the crown above the yud of Havayah corresponds to the "world" of Adam Kadmon). The yud of Havayah, above time and space, shines in the world of Atzilut. The three letters hei, vav, hei, which combine to form the word "present," reflecting the inner reality of created time and space, shine in the three lower worlds.

Relative to the soul of man, the four worlds correspond to the four levels of the soul: chayah (from the world of Atzilut); neshamah (from the world of Beriah); ruach (from the world of Yetzirah); nefesh (from the world of Asiyah). The yechidah of the soul corresponds to (and descends to man from) the "world" of Adam Kadmon.

The ten sefirot of the world of Atzilut in relation to the three lower worlds are as the ten essential powers of the soul in relation to its three garments, thought, speech and action. Though all forms of self-expression derive ultimately from the malchut of Atzilut, the Divine "world of speech," as explained above, the actual "garments" of the soul (separate, as it were, from the soul itself) relate to the three lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.

As explained above, the world of Atzilut is the world of the bliss of "marriage" (following the world of Akudim, the world of the impressions of childhood, and the world of Nekudim, the world of the trauma of adolescence). To continue this parable, the three lower worlds maybe compared to three stages of the married man leaving the intimate environment of his home ("the private domain," the world of Atzilut in Kabbalah) to enter the outside world, the world of "business" ("the public domain," the three lower worlds in Kabbalah). The "business" of the lower worlds is the involvement in the elevation of fallen sparks. There are three possible professions one may chose with regard to the "business world": to become a "professor" of business (corresponding to the world of Beriah, the world of thought); to become a business consultant (corresponding to the world of Yetzirah, the world of speech); to become a business man (corresponding to the world of Asiyah, the world of action).

After having explained in detail the world of Atzilut and its partzufim, we will now describe the three lower worlds and their relationship to the world of Atzilut in detail.


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