Beginner Level Kabbalah

Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: Atzmut

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)

Or Ein Sof  ("God's Infinite Light")
Ten stages of God's Infinite Light before the beginning of the creative process.

 Atzmut Yachid Echad Sha'ashuim
Kadmon Avir
Adam Kadma'ah


God's Absolute Essence

Of God's Absolute Essence it is said: "no thought can grasp You at all." He is neither "something" nor is He "nothing," for He is the "Absolute Something" as well as the "Absolute Nothing" as one.

Even when we refer to this and other related phenomena with regard to God as His being "the Paradox of paradoxes," this phrase itself is not meant to define God but only to describe the nature of man's experience of Him.

The phrase "no thought" in the above statement implies that even the primordial thought of Adam Kadmon–that thought which conceives all of Creation at once–cannot know the essence of God, the Creator.

Although the intellectual faculty of the Divine soul cannot know God, the inner essence of the Divine soul of Israel–"an actual part of God Above" (Tanya Ch. 2)– connects to God's Essence intuitively and directly (in the second person), as evident from the above statement itself: "no thought can grasp You at all."

When a simple Jew says "God," as in the phrase "blessed be God" or "by the will of God," he is referring to Atzmut–God's Absolute Essence. This is expressed by the Chassidic saying: "a simple Jew is connected to the simplicity of Atzmut."

In Hebrew, Atzmut means "Self" (and derives from the root etzem, which means "bone"). The first word of the giving of the Torah to Israel–the Ten Commandments–is Anochi, "I," the revelation to Israel of God's Absolute Essence, His ultimate "Self." The experience of this revelation impresses on the soul the sense of God's being "the Paradox of paradoxes," as mentioned above.

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