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Ain Soph

A General Introduction

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © February 11, 2014 (last updated April 18, 2022)

According to the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) the God is Israel is echad: completely, indivisibly, One.
This Oneness is sometimes referred to Ain Soph in its ultimate formlessness.
In truth, there exists nothing but Ain Soph: the Eternal One: the "No-Thing" (i.e. no definable thing, not this, not that).
Ain Soph is the ONE beyond all conception. There is no second to compare with the Holy One (Isaiah46:5).
As the Shema informs us:

שמע ישראל ה 'הוא האלוהים שלנו הוא אחד

Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
"Hear Israel, HaShem is our God, HaShem is One"

The Eternal One is echad: absolutely and indivisibly One. This Oneness is absolute and unchanging. This foundational truth reveals that Ain Soph is not part of a trinity (nor any other pantheon of gods) and that everything that exists is and arose from the Will of the Eternal One who alone is blessed. Therefore, Ain Soph is not a cosmic unconsciousness (like the Force in Star Wars) because the Eternal One manifests desire and demonstrates concern for His creation as a loving parent.

According to the sages, the creation began with the bringing forth of ten Sephirot or emanations of the Holy One. These ten emanations may be likened to the building blocks of existence. This ancient concept confused some ancients. Trying to grasp the inconceivable, some people determined the ten Sephirot were gods or manifestations like the ba'alim or other demigods, but this is not so. There is no god with God (Deuteronomy 32:39). One must properly understand Torah to avoid such confusion. The Shema is the foundation of all truth: Adonai echad, the Lord is one.

"In the beginning" Ain Soph is partially revealed as Elohim (i.e., the conceivable God over all the so-called gods). All existence emerges from and through Ain Soph as Elohim, the Creator; from the Unknown to the Known. Everything created emerges from the Oneness of Ain Soph (from within the "Void" established by Ain Soph for this purpose) without in any way infringing on the echad - singular - nature of the Eternal One.

This "calling forth" from the Void produces Adam Kadmon: the Tree of Existence or Life conceived as Primordial Man, or the logos as understood by the Greeks. This Primordial Man is known as Adam ha-Ḳadmoni. Don't be confused here. The reference is not to Adam from the Garden of Eden (i.e., "Adam Ha-Rishon" -- Adam the first); rather, we are speaking here of "Adam Ha-Ḳadmoni" or Adam the Original (which existed before and after the "first" Adam). Adam Kadmon is conceived as the prototype of existence within which resides all material potentiality. Ain Soph created terrestrial existence for 'Adam' or humankind. Tehillim (Psalms) 139:5 refers to this:

You encompassed me from the rear and the front, and You placed Your pressure upon me.

The above passage refers to the time before the first and after the last day of Creation. HaShem's Love encompasses us on all sides. As we read: "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." In other words, the Ruach HaKodesh of the Ain Soph existed before the beginning. The Beloved bestowed this anointing onto the earth and its inhabitants before there was an earth. This anointing was among the first of God's creations, as confirmed by Ben Sara (The Wisdom of Ben Sira 1:15, 26; 15:1; 24:1ff.; 34:8; cf. Prov. 8:22;31) and other sages (Gen. R. 1:4; Pes. 54a, et al.). The Midrash on Tehillim 139 clarifies this point. Of this Anointing, the sages say:

Yeshayahu 11:1,2 And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots. And the ruach (spirit) of HaShem shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and awe of Adonai.

While Rashi does not consider this to be a Messianic prophecy (despite its apparent agreement with Isaiah 11), this issue does not alter its aspect concerning the Anointing. Rashi was probably reacting to the use of this text by Christians in support of their beliefs.

"... The entire section, and at the end (v. 11), 'And it shall come to pass, that on that day, the Lord shall apply His hand again…[from Assyria]….' Hence, [it is obvious] that this prophecy was said to console those exiled to Assyria" [i.e., it is not referring to the future HaMashiach]. - Rashi

This text contains the kernel of Philo's philosophical doctrine of the creation of the "original man" (i.e., Adam Kadman). Philo sees here the idea of the earthly Adam (or Adam Ha-Rishon), while our rabbis explain the reference is to Adam Ha-Ḳadmoni, which existed before the creation of the human Adam. Adam Ha-Ḳadmoni existed before the creation, as discussed above. From this preexisting Adam, the spirit of Mashiach or Anointing, the Logos conception of the Greeks was a logical step. Basing its arguments on Philo's opinions, the Church sought to support its beliefs in the preexistence of Yeshua/Jesus due, in part, to the declaration of John 1:1 that the 'Logos existed at the beginning with G-d." This interpretation fails, however, since while traditional Judaism and Chassidus accept the preexistence of the spirit of HaMashiach, Yeshua met none of the main biblical requirements as I discuss here. Despite this, we discover the preexistence of the Ruach of HaShem hovering over and protecting the earth and its inhabitants.

The basic Jewish conception of Adam Kadmon is harmonious with the non-Christian Greek idea of the Logos. This concept arises from the Hebrew conception of Adam Ha-Ḳadmoni. It is through Adam Kadmon that humanity is "made in the image of God," and it is by harmonizing with the Ten sephirot and thereby entering into Da'at that we attain harmony with the Holy One, blessed be He. Through this process, one merits the anointing and assists in the world's rectification (or tikun), leading to Mashiach ben David's coming. Through this "calling into existence" the ten Sephirot or emanations of the One become manifest and impact the choices of the world. Hence it is said that a single righteous person could save the world.

With the "calling forth" of these ten emanations, the creation takes form within the boundaries of time and space and ultimately transcends it and enters the Olam Haba. Through this rectification process, the entire world will hear and sing the Song of Redemption:

And with this, I shall reveal to you a secret, and it is: Full and heaped up from line to line פצפציה - Pay, Tzaddi, Pay, Tzaddi, Yud, Hay (for more on this).

Then God will be One, and His Name will be One (Zechariah 14:9). Through the Song of Redemption and unification of the Sacred Name, existence will become infused with independent life. In truth, there is nothing but Ain Soph. What appears as a separate existence abides eternally united within Adam Kadmon. Through emunah and bitichon (or motivating faith and trust), and kavanah (right intention), anyone can attain spiritual harmony with the Beloved.

Here too confusion easily develops. This Chassidic concept of the ultimate Oneness of the creation is not the same as the Eastern concept of nirguna brahman, wherein the diverse "parts" of creation collectively form the totality of the Whole when one realizes tat tvam asi, that, "Thou art That ."Rather, because Ain Soph exists completely independent of all creation, the creation has no impact on the Holy One. The Eternal One chooses to interact with the created beings as "other" for purposes beyond our conception. Nonetheless, by the Creator's will, humans are endowed with eternality from the point of the initial creation.

The Globalists seek to destroy everything that exists, and yet Ain Soph remains untouched. Destroy God, were that possible, and nothing would remain. There is only HaShem. Anything we might say concerning Ain Soph is therefore only partly accurate. Ain Soph is utterly transcendent. However, the revelations we are granted concerning HaShem allow us to realize that which is beyond all conception partly in Devekut.

Adam Kadmon is independent of existence. It is called forth by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, by the Words of Torah, that arise ultimately from Ain Soph. This Word (elohim amar hayah) is the conceivable Source of the inconceivable. From this Word, we understood that utterance of the Sacred Language 'draws forth' from the emanations as one draws water from a well. Therefore, each Hebrew letter possesses an intrinsic existence arising from and ultimately returning to Ain Soph through Adam Kadmon. The Hebrew alphabet contains and manifests HaShem's Torah, the Source of everything. Therefore, Hebrew is the most exalted of the languages and will be the language of all creation in the Olam Haba (the future age).

Each Hebrew letter has a numeric value that can, for those with understanding, further reveal the divine wisdom of the Torah. Because light and color are definable through numeric sequences, they also manifest sacred attributes that reveal deeper understanding. Through its emanations, Ain Soph surrounds and indwells everything at every moment. Yet the Beloved remains eternally distinct from the creation and is echad (one).

For more information on this topic see my study here.

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