K’dushat Levi – Page 1 on B’reishit
translated by Cantor Jordan S Franzel
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ. (בראשית א,א)
B’REiShiYT BaRA ELoHiYM ET HaShaMaYiM V’ET Ha-AReTz (Genesis 1:1)
The essential point is that the Creator created everything, and He is everything, and His influence never ceases from the world, for In every moment He emanates effluence to His creation and to all the worlds and to all the palaces and to all the angels and to all the holy creatures. And therefore we say, YOTzeiR OR UVOREi ChoSheCh (He forms light and creates darkness) and not YaTzaR OR UVaRA ChoSheCh He formed light and created darkness) only YoTzeiR in the present tense. For in every moment He creates, in every moment He emanates vitality to all that lives. And everything is from Him and He is complete. And He is composed from everything.
Therefore when a person comes to AYiN, and they know that they are nothing and that only the Creator gives him strength – then he refers to the blessed Name with the name YOTzeiR, which is in the present tense. That also now He is forming. Therefore when a person looks at themselves and doesn’t see themselves as AYiN then he is on the level of YeiSh (independent existence). He then refers to the Creator as only YaTzaR. That is that He created him already and therefore we say, ASheR YaTzaR ET HADaM B’ChoChMaH. ChoChMaH is the level of YeiSh and therefore it is fitting to say YaTzaR and not YOTzeiR. And therefore it says in the writings of Rabbi Isaac Luria that YHVH MeLeCh (God rules) is the aspect of AYiN, for God rules – He is now giving us vitality. And He is the aspect of AYiN – that we are nothing, only God gives us strength.
AYiN directs everything above (transcending) nature and YeiSh directs everything through nature. However, the combination of YeiSh and AYiN that we combine is by means of MiTzVoT and TORaH that is called “And the living beings would run and return.” And it is written in the ZoHaR that MiTzVoT and TORaH are hidden and revealed. For “hidden” hints at AYiN and “revealed” hints at YeiSh. (TORaH and MiTzVoT) are the combination of YeiSh in AYiN and AYiN in YeiSh. And therefore it is called MiTzVoT for (the letters) M”Tz in AT”BaSh is Y”H that is the aspect of AYiN. And the letters V’H of the word MiTzVaH are the aspect of YeiSh. And therefore the letters Y”H are hidden for AYiN is hidden. And now we can explain the hidden and revealed aspects of TORaH and MiTzVoT. When we behave according to the MiTzVoT we give pride to God – this is hidden for it is not apparent to us. And whatever good we do for ourselves, this is apparent to us. And this is the explanation of the text – HaNiSTaROT LaYHVH ELoHeiYNU (the hidden things are for YHVH our God). HaNiSTaROT refers to the hidden aspect of the performance of a MiTzVaH – it is for our God for whatever we do (a MiTzVaH) it is hidden from us. And the revealed – refers to the revelation that is for us and our children. That which we bring SheFA (effluence) is revealed to us. And this is, B’REiShiYT BaRA ELoHiYM – explanation: that God created YeiSh, that is REiShiYT, and through this (aspect of God) the creation of the heavens and earth was brought into being. For before everything, things were brought into being through AYiN. And this is what the YeRUShaLMiY translation says, that with ChoChMaH He created. For ChoChMaH is the aspect of YeiSh.