Chapter 2ב׳
1 א

הָאֵל הַנִּכְבָּד וְהַנּוֹרָא הַזֶּה מִצְוָה לְאָהֳבוֹ וּלְיִרְאָה אוֹתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ו ה) "וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ". וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים ו יג) "אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ תִּירָא":

It is mandatory to love and fear this Glorified and Awe-inspiring God, for it is said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God" (Deut. 6,5); and as it is said: "The Lord thy God thou shalt fear." (Ibid. 6, 13).

2 ב

וְהֵיאַךְ הִיא הַדֶּרֶךְ לְאַהֲבָתוֹ וְיִרְאָתוֹ. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיִּתְבּוֹנֵן הָאָדָם בְּמַעֲשָׂיו וּבְרוּאָיו הַנִּפְלָאִים הַגְּדוֹלִים וְיִרְאֶה מֵהֶן חָכְמָתוֹ שֶׁאֵין לָהּ עֵרֶךְ וְלֹא קֵץ מִיָּד הוּא אוֹהֵב וּמְשַׁבֵּחַ וּמְפָאֵר וּמִתְאַוֶּה תַּאֲוָה גְּדוֹלָה לֵידַע הַשֵּׁם הַגָּדוֹל. כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד (תהילים מב ג) "צָמְאָה נַפְשִׁי לֵאלֹהִים לְאֵל חָי". וּכְשֶׁמְּחַשֵּׁב בַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ עַצְמָן מִיָּד הוּא נִרְתָּע לַאֲחוֹרָיו וִיפַחֵד וְיוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא בְּרִיָּה קְטַנָּה שְׁפָלָה אֲפֵלָה עוֹמֶדֶת בְּדַעַת קַלָּה מְעוּטָה לִפְנֵי תְּמִים דֵּעוֹת. כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד (תהילים ח ד) "כִּי אֶרְאֶה שָׁמֶיךָ מַעֲשֵׂי אֶצְבְּעֹתֶיךָ" (תהילים ח ה) "מָה אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ". וּלְפִי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ אֲנִי מְבָאֵר כְּלָלִים גְּדוֹלִים מִמַּעֲשֵׂה רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ פֶּתַח לַמֵּבִין לֶאֱהֹב אֶת הַשֵּׁם. כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים בְּעִנְיַן אַהֲבָה שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ כָּךְ אַתָּה מַכִּיר אֶת מִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם:

But how may one discover the way to love and fear Him? When man will reflect concerning His works, and His great and wonderful creatures,1But he must make thorough study. C. and will behold through them His wonderful, matchless and infinite wisdom, he will spontaneously be filled with love, praise and exaltation and become possessed of a great longing to know the Great Name, even as David said: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God," (Ps. 42,2); and when he will think of all these matters,2Sifre, Deut. 6.5; Shabbat, 30–31. G. he will be taken aback in a moment and stricken with awe, and realize that he is an infinitesimal creature, humble and dark, standing with an insignificant and slight knowledge in the presence of the All Wise, as David said: "For when I see Thy heavens, the wonderful works of Thy fingers, of what use is man that Thou mayest remember him?" (Ibid. 8,4). And, in harmony with these matters, I elucidate great, general principles of the works of the Lord of the universe, so that they might serve as an opening for one who understands by which to love the Name, as some sages said on the subject of love: "Out of it thou wilt recognize the One who spoke, and the universe was called into existence."

3 ג

כָּל מַה שֶּׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹ נֶחְלָק לִשְׁלֹשָׁה חֲלָקִים. מֵהֶן בְּרוּאִים שֶׁהֵן מְחֻבָּרִים מִגּלֶם וְצוּרָה וְהֵם הוִֹים וְנִפְסָדִים תָּמִיד כְּמוֹ גּוּפוֹת הָאָדָם וְהַבְּהֵמָה וְהַצְּמָחִים וְהַמַּתָּכוֹת. וּמֵהֶן בְּרוּאִים שֶׁהֵן מְחֻבָּרִים מִגּלֶם וְצוּרָה אֲבָל אֵינָן מִשְׁתַּנִּין מִגּוּף לְגוּף וּמִצּוּרָה לְצוּרָה כְּמוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנִים אֶלָּא צוּרָתָן קְבוּעָה לְעוֹלָם בְּגָלְמָם וְאֵינָן מִשְׁתַּנִּין כְּמוֹ אֵלּוּ. וְהֵם הַגַּלְגַּלִּים וְהַכּוֹכָבִים שֶׁבָּהֶן. וְאֵין גָּלְמָם כִּשְׁאָר גְּלָמִים וְלֹא צוּרָתָם כִּשְׁאָר צוּרוֹת. וּמֵהֶן בְּרוּאִים צוּרָה בְּלֹא גּלֶם כְּלָל וְהֵם הַמַּלְאָכִים. שֶׁהַמַּלְאָכִים אֵינָם גּוּף וּגְוִיָּה אֶלָּא צוּרוֹת נִפְרָדוֹת זוֹ מִזּוֹ:

All that which the Holy One, blessed is He! created in His world, is divided into three types: (a) Composite creatures of matter and form; they are beings which undergo constant changes, as the bodies of man, beasts, plants and minerals; (b) Composite beings of matter and form which do not undergo changes of either body or form as the former, but their forms remain forever set in their body unchanged; they are: the planets and the stars around them; their matter is unlike other matter and their forms are unlike other forms; (c) Beings possessed of forms but of no matter whatever; they are the angels; for the angels are incorporeal but varied forms.

4 ד

וּמַהוּ זֶה שֶׁהַנְּבִיאִים אוֹמְרִים שֶׁרָאוּ הַמַּלְאָךְ אֵשׁ וּבַעַל כְּנָפַיִם. הַכּל בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה וְדֶרֶךְ חִידָה. לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵינוֹ גּוּף וְאֵינוֹ כָּבֵד כַּגּוּפוֹת הַכְּבֵדִים. כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד כד) "כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵשׁ אֹכְלָה הוּא" וְאֵינוֹ אֵשׁ אֶלָּא מָשָׁל. וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים קד ד) "עשֶֹׁה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת":

And, what is this that the prophets say that they saw the angel as of fire and winged? This all is in prophetic vision and enigmatical, emphasizing that the being is incorporeal and has no gravity as other massive bodies, as, for instance it is said: "For the Lord your God is a burning flame," (Deut. 4,24). Who is not of fire but it is merely a figure of speech; and, for further instance, it is said: "He maketh His angels of winds." (Ps. 104, 4).

5 ה

וּבַמֶּה יִפָּרְדוּ הַצּוּרוֹת זוֹ מִזּוֹ וַהֲרֵי אֵינָן גּוּפִין. לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן שָׁוִין בִּמְצִיאוּתָן אֶלָּא כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן לְמַטָּה מִמַּעֲלָתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ. וְהוּא מָצוּי מִכֹּחוֹ זֶה לְמַעְלָה מִזֶּה וְהַכּל נִמְצָאִים מִכֹּחוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְטוּבוֹ. וְזֶהוּ שֶׁרָמַז שְׁלֹמֹה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ וְאָמַר (קהלת ה ז) "כִּי גָבֹהַּ מֵעַל גָּבֹהַּ שֹׁמֵר":

Not being corporeal, in what do these forms vary one from the other? In that that they are not alike in their being, but each one of them functions in a lesser degree than the other, and each one derives his being from the power of the one above him; but all of them derive their being from the Power and Goodness of the Holy One, Blessed is He! and from His munificence, which is as Solomon in his wisdom pointed at and said: "For One higher than the high watcheth." (Ecc. 5,7).

6 ו

זֶה שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ לְמַטָּה מִמַּעֲלָתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ אֵינָהּ מַעֲלַת מָקוֹם. כְּמוֹ אָדָם שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב לְמַעְלָה מֵחֲבֵרוֹ. אֶלָּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִין בִּשְׁנֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁאֶחָד גָּדוֹל מֵחֲבֵרוֹ בְּחָכְמָה שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מִמַּעֲלָתוֹ שֶׁל זֶה. וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִין בְּעִלָּה שֶׁהִיא לְמַעְלָה מִן הֶעָלוּל:

What we said "in a lesser degree than the other," does not mean a degree in place, as one man sits a degree higher than the other, but as it is said of two scholars that one is greater than the other in learning, who is of a degree higher than the other, and, as we speak of the cause as of a higher degree than the thing to which it gives being.

7 ז

שִׁנּוּי שְׁמוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם מַעֲלָתָם הוּא. וּלְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָאִים חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַכּל וְאוֹפַנִּים וְאֶרְאֶלִּים וְחַשְׁמַלִּים וּשְׂרָפִים וּמַלְאָכִים וֵאלֹהִים וּבְנֵי אֱלֹהִים וּכְרוּבִים וְאִישִׁים. כָּל אֵלּוּ עֲשָׂרָה הַשֵּׁמוֹת שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ בָּהֶן הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶן הֵן, וּמַעֲלָה שֶׁאֵין לְמַעְלָה מִמֶּנָּה אֶלָּא מַעֲלַת הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא הִיא מַעֲלַת הַצּוּרָה שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת חַיּוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ נֶאֱמַר בַּנְּבוּאָה שֶׁהֵן תַּחַת כִּסֵּא הַכָּבוֹד. וּמַעֲלָה עֲשִׂירִית הִיא מַעֲלַת הַצּוּרָה שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת אִישִׁים וְהֵם הַמַּלְאָכִים הַמְדַבְּרִים עִם הַנְּבִיאִים וְנִרְאִים לָהֶם בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה. לְפִיכָךְ נִקְרְאוּ אִישִׁים שֶׁמַּעֲלָתָם קְרוֹבָה לְמַעֲלַת דַּעַת בְּנֵי אָדָם:

The variation in the names of the angels is based upon their degrees; they are therefore called: Holy Living Creatures, which are above all others, Wheels, Valiant Ones, Electrum, Flying Serpent, Angels, Gods, Sons of Gods, Chariot Bearers, and Men. All these ten names by which the angels are called designate their respective ten degrees; the degree which has nothing higher than itself, save only the degree of God, blessed is He! is the degree of the form which is called Living Creatures; thus it is spoken of in prophecy as being beneath the Throne of Glory. And the tenth degree is the degree of the form known as Men, which are the angels who speak with the prophets and appear to them in the vision of prophecy. Therefore they are called Men, as their degree approaches the degree of the intellect of the sons of man.3Hagigah, 11a-13a. G.

8 ח

וְכָל הַצּוּרוֹת הָאֵלּוּ חַיִּים וּמַכִּירִין אֶת הַבּוֹרֵא וְיוֹדְעִים אוֹתוֹ דֵּעָה גְּדוֹלָה עַד לִמְאֹד. כָּל צוּרָה וְצוּרָה לְפִי מַעֲלָתָהּ לֹא לְפִי גָּדְלָהּ. אֲפִלּוּ מַעֲלָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לְהַשִּׂיג אֲמִתַּת הַבּוֹרֵא כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא אֶלָּא דַּעְתָּהּ קְצָרָה לְהַשִּׂיג וְלֵידַע אֲבָל מַשֶּׂגֶת וְיוֹדַעַת יוֹתֵר מִמַּה שֶּׁמַּשֶּׂגֶת וְיוֹדַעַת צוּרָה שֶׁלְּמַטָּה מִמֶּנָּה. וְכֵן כָּל מַעֲלָה וּמַעֲלָה עַד מַעֲלָה עֲשִׂירִית גַּם הִיא יוֹדַעַת הַבּוֹרֵא דֵּעָה שֶׁאֵין כֹּחַ בְּנֵי הָאָדָם הַמְחֻבָּרִים מִגּלֶם וְצוּרָה יָכוֹל לְהַשִּׂיג וְלֵידַע כְּמוֹתָהּ. וְהַכּל אֵינָן יוֹדְעִין הַבּוֹרֵא כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ עַצְמוֹ:

All of these Forms are alive and recognize the Creator, and know Him with an extreme power of intelligence, each Form according to its degree, not according to its size. But even the Form of the first degree cannot attain the truth of the Creator as He is, for, its intelligence falls short of such attainment and knowledge; nevertheless, it attains and knows more than the Form beneath itself knows and attains. Likewise are they all, from each and every degree, even till the tenth degree, which Form also knows the Creator with an understanding which is not within the power of the sons of man, who are composite beings of matter and form, to attain and know. And, all of them do not know the Creator as He Himself knows His Own Being.

9 ט

כָּל הַנִּמְצָאִים חוּץ מִן הַבּוֹרֵא מִצּוּרָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה עַד יַתּוּשׁ קָטָן שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּטַבּוּר הָאָרֶץ הַכּל מִכֹּחַ אֲמִתָּתוֹ נִמְצְאוּ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ עַצְמוֹ וּמַכִּיר גְּדֻלָּתוֹ וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ וַאֲמִתָּתוֹ הוּא יוֹדֵעַ הַכּל וְאֵין דָּבָר נֶעֱלָם מִמֶּנּוּ:

All beings, save only the Creator, from the First Form to the smallest moth which might be in the center of the earth, came into being by the power of His truth; and because He knows His Own Being, and recognizes His Own greatness, Glory and Truth, He is All-Knowing, and there is not a matter concealed from Him.

10 י

הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַכִּיר אֲמִתּוֹ וְיוֹדֵעַ אוֹתָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִיא. וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ בְּדֵעָה שֶׁהִיא חוּץ מִמֶּנּוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ יוֹדְעִין. שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ וְדַעְתֵּנוּ אֶחָד אֲבָל הַבּוֹרֵא יִתְבָּרַךְ הוּא וְדַעְתּוֹ וְחַיָּיו אֶחָד מִכָּל צַד וּמִכָּל פִּנָּה וּבְכָל דֶּרֶךְ יִחוּד. שֶׁאִלְמָלֵי הָיָה חַי בַּחַיִּים וְיוֹדֵעַ בְּדֵעָה חוּץ מִמֶּנּוּ הָיוּ שָׁם אֱלֹהוּת הַרְבֵּה הוּא וְחַיָּיו וְדַעְתּוֹ, וְאֵין הַדָּבָר כֵּן אֶלָּא אֶחָד מִכָּל צַד וּמִכָּל פִּנָּה וּבְכָל דֶּרֶךְ יִחוּד. נִמְצֵאתָ אַתָּה אוֹמֵר הוּא הַיּוֹדֵעַ וְהוּא הַיָּדוּעַ וְהוּא הַדֵּעָה עַצְמָהּ הַכּל אֶחָד. וְדָבָר זֶה אֵין כֹּחַ בַּפֶּה לְאָמְרוֹ וְלֹא בָּאֹזֶן לְשָׁמְעוֹ וְלֹא בְּלֵב הָאָדָם לְהַכִּירוֹ עַל בֻּרְיוֹ. וּלְפִיכָךְ אוֹמֵר חֵי פַרְעֹה וְחֵי נַפְשְׁךָ וְאֵין אוֹמֵר חֵי ה' אֶלָּא חַי ה'. שֶׁאֵין הַבּוֹרֵא וְחַיָּיו שְׁנַיִם כְּמוֹ חַיֵּי הַגּוּפִים הַחַיִּים אוֹ כְּחַיֵּי הַמַּלְאָכִים. לְפִיכָךְ אֵינוֹ מַכִּיר הַבְּרוּאִים וְיוֹדְעָם מֵחֲמַת הַבְּרוּאִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ יוֹדְעִין אוֹתָם אֶלָּא מֵחֲמַת עַצְמוֹ יְדָעֵם. לְפִיכָךְ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא יוֹדֵעַ עַצְמוֹ יוֹדֵעַ הַכּל שֶׁהַכּל נִסְמָךְ לוֹ בַּהֲוָיָתוֹ:

The Holy One, blessed is He! recognizes His Own Truth and knows it as it really is; and He does not know with an intelligence which is apart from Himself, as we know, for, we and our intelligence are not one, but the Creator, may He be blessed! and His Intelligence and His Life are One from every lateral, angle and manner of Unity. Since but for this, He would live a life and understand with an intelligence apart from Himself, then there would be many gods, He, His life and His Intelligence; and it is not so, for He is One from every lateral, angle and manner of Unity. Consequently you must say that, what He knows, and that by which He is known, and the Intelligence itself are all One. But this matter the mouth has no power to express, nor the ear to perceive, neither is it within the heart of man to see it clearly. Therefore, it is spoken of, "the life of Pharoh" (Gen. 42,5) and "the life of thy soul" (Sam. 1.26), and it is not spoken of "the life of God," but "the living God," (Judg. 8.19) because the Creator and His life are not two, as are the lives of living bodies, or as the lives of angels. Wherefore, He does not recognize the creatures nor knows them because they are creatures as we know them, but by reason of knowing His Own Self does He know them. Therefore, because He knows His Own Self, He knows all; for, all depend upon Him in being.

11 יא

דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בְּעִנְיָן זֶה בִּשְׁנֵי פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ כְּמוֹ טִפָּה מִן הַיָּם הֵם מִמַּה שֶּׁצָּרִיךְ לְבָאֵר בְּעִנְיָן זֶה. וּבֵאוּר כָּל הָעִקָּרִים שֶׁבִּשְׁנֵי פְּרָקִים אֵלּוּ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא מַעֲשֵׂה מֶרְכָּבָה:

These matters we spoke of on this subject in these two chapters, are but a drop in the ocean of what it ought to be expounded in this subject; and the exposition of all the principles in these two chapters, are known as the Works of the Chariot. (Ezek. 1).

12 יב

צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁלֹּא לִדְרשׁ בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא לְאִישׁ אֶחָד בִּלְבַד וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה חָכָם וּמֵבִין מִדַּעְתּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מוֹסְרִין לוֹ רָאשֵׁי הַפְּרָקִים וּמוֹדִיעִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁמֶץ מִן הַדָּבָר וְהוּא מֵבִין מִדַּעְתּוֹ וְיֵדַע סוֹף הַדָּבָר וְעָמְקוֹ. וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ דְּבָרִים עֲמֻקִּים הֵם עַד לִמְאֹד וְאֵין כָּל דַּעַת וְדַעַת רְאוּיָה לְסָבְלָן. וַעֲלֵיהֶם אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה בְּחָכְמָתוֹ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל (משלי כז כו) "כְּבָשִׂים לִלְבוּשֶׁךָ" כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים בְּפֵרוּשׁ מָשָׁל זֶה דְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן כִּבְשׁוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם יִהְיוּ לִלְבוּשְׁךָ כְּלוֹמַר לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ וְאַל תִּדְרשׁ אוֹתָם בָּרַבִּים. וַעֲלֵיהֶם אָמַר (משלי ה יז) "יִהְיוּ לְךָ לְבַדֶּךָ וְאֵין לְזָרִים אִתָּךְ". וַעֲלֵיהֶם אָמַר (שיר השירים ד יא) "דְּבַשׁ וְחָלָב תַּחַת לְשוֹנֵךְ", כָּךְ פֵּרְשׁוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים דְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵן כִּדְבַשׁ וְחָלָב יִהְיוּ תַּחַת לְשׁוֹנְךָ:

The ancient sages have commanded not to sermonize concerning these matters;4Ibid. C. save only to one man at a time, if he be wise, possessed of an intelligence of his own, whenafter to him might be transmitted the headlines of the chapters and acquaint him with a fraction of the matter so that he be able to understand its conclusion by his own intelligence and fathom its depth. These matters are extremely deep matters indeed, and not each and every intelligence is prepared to suffer them. And concerning them Solomon in his wisdom metaphorically said: "The lambs will be for thy clothing" (Prov. 27,26); so have the sages interpreted this metaphor: "matters which are covering the universe shall be for thy garment," meaning they are a garment for thee alone, but thou shalt not sermonize them before the multitude. And, concerning them he further said: "Let it be for thee alone and for no strangers with thee," (Ibid. 5,17). And concerning them he, moreover, said: "Milk and honey shall be beneath thy tongue;" (Song of Songs, 4,11); so have the early sages interpreted it: "Matters which are likened to honey and milk shall remain beneath thine own tongue".