Two Firmaments—Beginning and End

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332) There are two firmaments—beginning and end—and one equals the other.

The beginning is the eighth firmament, in which all the stars—small and great—are stuck. It is the upper, hidden firmament that sustains everything and from which everything emerges. It is the eight from below upwards and it is the beginning, bringing everything out from it.

333) Such is the eighth firmament from above downwards, in which all the stars are stuck, all the lights and the candles. It receives everything and it is the end of everything.

The firmament is the Parsa, the new Sium from Tzimtzum Bet [second restriction], which brings Bina and TM of each degree out and lowers them down to the degree below them. During Gadlut [greatness/adulthood], the Parsa—firmament—returns to the Sium of Tzimtzum Aleph [first restriction], and brings the Sefirot Bina and TM back to the degree.

As a whole, there are three Parsas [plural of Parsa] in the world of Atzilut. The first firmament is in Peh de AA. It brings Bina and TM outside of Rosh de AA, and into the degree of AVI, leaving only Keter and Hochma in Rosh de AA. It is the first firmament because there is no Tzimtzum Bet in Partzuf Atik, but either a fissure or no fissure. The second is the middle firmament in Chazeh de AA, which brings Bina and TM of HGT de AA to the place of YESHSUT and ZON below the Chazeh. The third is the bottom firmament at the Sium of Atzilut, which brings Bina and TM de ZON de Atzilut to BYA.

Here The Zohar speaks only of the first and last firmaments. It says, “There are two firmaments, beginning and end, and one is equal to the other. The firmament at Peh de AA is the beginning of everything and the firmament at the place of Ateret Yesod de ZA ends the whole of the world of Atzilut.

It is written that the beginning is the eighth firmament, in which all the small and great stars are stuck. Stars are Mochin, and both Katnut and Gadlut depend and come from the first firmament. This is so because when it brings Bina and TM de Rosh AA outside, Mochin de Katnut are imparted upon all the Partzufim. And when the firmament returns to the Sium in Tzimtzum AlephBina and TM of Rosh de AA are brought back, and the Gadlut is imparted through all the degrees. This is the hidden, upper firmament, which is called “hidden” because it is below the hidden Hochma de AA. The one who keeps everything, all the types of Gadlut—and from which everything come out, meaning all the types of Katnut—is the eighth from below upwards. This is so because AA is Hochma de MA, and it is a count of eight SefirotHB, and HGT NHY from Ateret Yesod to Hochma. This is why it is regarded as the eighth, and it is the beginning from which everything emerges because no Mochin extends to ABYA from Partzuf Atik before it.

So is the eighth firmament from above downwards, the firmament at the place of Ateret Yesod de ZA, the eighth from above downwards, when beginning to count eight Sefirot from AA, from Hochma to Yesod. All the stars are stuck in it, all the lights and the candles, from which all kinds of Mochin come to the Nukva and to all the lower ones, the dwellers of BYA. This is so because when it brings Bina and TM de ZON outside of Atzilut, the Nukva and all the lower ones are in Katnut. And when Tzimtzum Bet is cancelled, bringing back Bina and TM de ZON de Atzilut, all the lower ones receive Mochin de Gadlut.

It receives everything, taking from the upper ones all the Mochin for the lower ones, and this is the Sium of everything, for it ends the whole of Atzilut. We could ask, “But isn’t Malchut ending Atzilut, and not Yesod?” The whole of Partzuf Malchut is built from Ateret Yesod. This is the reason why the Sium is regarded as Ateret Yesod.

As the eighth firmament is the beginning of everything, and all the lights that it receives from the upper ones depend on it, and from it, they come out to all the Partzufim of Atzilut, similarly, all the lights depend on the eighth, bottom firmament, which it receives from the ones above it. And from it, they come out to all the worlds, to Nukva and to BYA.

334) The beginning and the end, meaning the two firmaments, are in one form. The lower firmament—the river that stretches out and whose waters never stop—is all to equalize the end with the beginning. This is why it is written, “And God placed them in the firmament of the heavens,” the lower one. They are there to illuminate the earth, the Nukva, and BYA.

335) And even though the upper firmament and the lower firmament are in one form, the difference between them is that the upper firmament sustains and nourishes the upper world and all those upper discernments, and the lower firmament sustains and nourishes the lower world, the Nukva, and all the lower discernments in BYA.

336) But is that hidden eighth firmament not the upper world itself? Can it be that it nourishes the upper world, which means that it is a different discernment than the upper world? Indeed, the upper firmament itself is the upper world, and all the degrees that come out of it are called by his name, “the upper world.”

The upper and lower firmaments are all one. Therefore, it should not perplex you that the upper firmament is in Peh de AA, while here he says that it is the upper world, and the upper world is Bina. He says that they are two worlds because there are no more than two worlds in each Partzuf—above the Chazeh is considered the upper world, and below the Chazeh is considered the lower world. Hence, above the Chazeh de AA is considered the upper world entirely, and it is also regarded as Bina, since the firmament, which is Tzimtzum Bet, was made only on Bina of AA, which he took outside the Rosh.

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