Daniel C. Matt

A Quote by Daniel C. Matt on kabbalah and ein sof

ANYTHING VISIBLE, and anything that can be grasped by thought, is bounded. Anything bounded is finite. Anything finite is undifferentiated. Conversely, the boundless is called Ein Sof, Infinite. Since it is boundless, there is nothing outside of it. Since it transcends and conceals itself, it is the essence of everything hidden and revealed. Since it is concealed, it is the root of faith and the root of rebellion. As it is written, “One who is righteous lives by his faith.” The philosophers acknowledge that we comprehend it only by way of no.

Emanating from Ein Sof are the ten sefirot. They constitute the process by which all things come into being and pass away. They energize every existent thing that can be quantified. Since all things come into being by means of the sefirot, they differ from one another, yet they all derive from one root. Everything is from Ein Sof, there is nothing outside of it.

One should avoid fashioning metaphors regarding Ein Sof, but in order to help you understand, you can compare Ein Sof to a candle from which hundreds of millions of other candles are kindled. Though some shine brighter than others, compared to the first light they are all the same, all deriving from that one source. The first light and all the others are, in effect, incomparable. Nor can their priority compare with its, for it surpasses them; their energy emanates from it. No change takes place in it - the energy of emanation simply manifests through differentiation.

Ein Sof cannot be conceived, certainly not expressed, though it is intimated in every thing, for there is nothing outside of it. No letter, no name, no writing, no thing can confine it. The witness testifying in writing that there is nothing outside of it is “I am that I am.”  Ein Sof has no will, no intention, no desire, no thought, no speech, no action – yet there is nothing outside of it.

Daniel C. Matt

Source: The Essential Kabbalah: Heart of Jewish Mysticism, The, Pages: 29..30

Contributed by: J.K.

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