Let’s look at Petach 16 again and intersperse some of Ramchal’s own comments there.
The Sephirot express two sorts of “forward” and “backward” (movements of) light “in the prophetic vision” he adds, underscoring that this doesn’t actually happen but is envisioned as such.
His next point is that “Ein Sof encompasses the Sephirot … both above and below”. Thus (like ourselves) Ramchal understands Sefer Bahir’s statement that “just as the Shechina is below, it’s likewise above” as referring to Ein Sof.
He then goes into details about the mechanics, telling us that as a whole the phenomenon “looks exactly ‘like the appearance of lightning’ (Ezekiel 1:14) as a flash of lightning appears to come from one side and to travel over to the other, then it appears to turn from the other side back to the side from which it came”.
And he then dwells on the implications of the phenomenon. As such, the fact that it’s Ein Sof that surrounds the whole phenomenon spoken of illustrates the utter sovereignty of the Ein Sof and (the fact) that everything (manifestly) emanates from Him, and that He is the end-point of everything, as it’s written: “I am first, and I am last” (Isaiah 44:6). And it likewise illustrates that He is revealed at the beginning as well as at the end.
Ramchal thus underscores the idea (in his comments here) that the whole phenomenon of light emitting from God’s being on the outside of the circle and returning to it after passing through and becoming the roiling, grand and subtle contents of the circle illustrates the facts that “what emerges from Ein Sof returns to Ein Sof”, that “what was within Him from the beginning, as it is now, … will be (revealed to be within Him) in the end”, and that “He comprises everything”.
Thus he understands it as functioning and shining forth as a grand and bold metaphor for the eventual revelation of God’s Yichud, or better said, for its restoration (as discussed in Section 1).
But there’s more.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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