The Name of HaVaYaH

Hashem governs through the mystery of the various different names; the order of the four letters of HaVaYaH is what directs the other names and forms of address.

5 min

Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Posted on 13.12.08

Part 54 of "138 Openings of Wisdom" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato

Opening 31, Part 4
Part 2: This is the order of the Name of HaVaYaH, blessed be He forever and ever. As I have written above in connection with the trees, this is the Tree of this holy Name. It continues unfolding in accordance with the intrinsic nature of its letters in the same order in which they appear in the Name in the mystery of ten and the mystery of four, as discussed above. As to the significance of the letters themselves: the Yud is Arich Anpin (the cusp) and Abba (the main body of the Yud); the first Heh is Imma; the Vav is Zeir Anpin and the second Heh is Nukva, in this order and in the mystery of the four expansions. The Yud corresponds to AV=72; the first Heh corresponds to SaG=63, the Vav to MaH=45 and the second Heh to BaN=52. (See Opening 22 Introductory Note.) In sum, all that exists is founded on the mystery of this Name and upon the mystery of these letters of which it consists.
This means that all the different orders and laws are all drawn after and come under the order of these four letters. This is not one particular pathway but rather the general path, which includes everything that exists in the Sefirot in all their details and which brings everything under its order. For although the actions through which God governs the world are rooted in many different kinds of governmental pathways through the mystery of the various different names, the actions are only actualized through this order of the four letters of HaVaYaH, which direct the other names and forms of address. Thus it is this order that directs all the various orders and is the root of all the actions that come about.
The governmental order of the four letters of HaVaYaH is built of various conditions and divisions: it is built of various different names and forms of address, which constitute the details of the government. All are ordered in the proper order, for when they stand in the proper order, the actions go forth on all sides from the place from which they must emerge. This too is like the soul and the body: the other names are the limbs of the body, while this Name is like their soul, and the whole intention must be to hold by this soul so that it will actualize the actions of the body.
And in accordance with this order, the teachings of the Kabbalah always trace everything to the underlying foundation of the four letters of the Name Blessed be He. This is a very important and necessary principle in the study of this wisdom, because we always speak in terms of the Ten Sefirot, yet there are many kabbalistic teachings that appear to contradict one another. The main thing to understand is that the various levels divide up in many different ways and into many details depending on what is required for the action that they have to execute. The division is not made on the basis of the Ten Sefirot in general but according to the particular nature of the action in question.
However, since everything must be included under the order of the Likeness of Man, which is the mystery of the Ten Sefirot, accordingly each division, as soon as it is made, is arranged in the order of Ten Sefirot. However this is not the basis of the division. The details of individual actions are arranged in accordance with their particular roots, yet at the same time they are also arranged in the order of the Ten Sefirot. This, however, is not the essential order of their individual actions, which depends upon their unique functions. Thus the division is based on other factors and on the particular roots that are relevant. Yet it is arranged in accordance with the order of the Ten Sefirot, which is the order of the four letters of HaVaYaH, blessed be He, and the four expansions of the Name, for it is all one matter, as we have already discussed.
From this you can understand that if those very lights themselves need to divide up in other ways different from the first division, those other divisions are also arranged according to the order of the Ten Sefirot, but they are then described differently. For example, what was at first under SaG can come under AV or under MaH or under BaN, for its appropriate place depends upon the division in question. (Thus the Nikudin are under BaN even though they are branches of SaG.)
The end of the matter is that since the order of the Name, blessed be He, is the general order that holds sway over all the different divisions and orders in the universe, we may infer that the actions have two roots. One lies on the particular level involved according to the individual root of the action in question. The other lies in the way they are arranged under the Name of HaVaYaH, which is their general root. These two roots are not at all parallel in their function. Rather, all the new divisions that come into being through the power of particular levels are all included in and come under this general order.
Let me give you an example. We say that the musical notes, vowels, crowns and letters correspond respectively to the four expansions of AV, SaG, MaH and BaN. This is not to say that they themselves actually come from there, for if that were so, various different teachings, particularly in the works of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, would be completely contradictory and could only be reconciled with a forced solution. The main thing to understand is that they are four kinds of arrangements or institutions (tikkunim, lit. "repairs"). The letters are the actual lights of the government of Zeir and Nukva, which emerge from Imma. As to the vowels and the crowns: through the crowns (which are attached to the letters and written in the Torah scroll), Imma hovers over the letters as a source that does not separate from them even after their emergence. And through the vowels, Imma governs the letters, for the vowels govern the letters. The musical notes are institutions that come for the sake of complete government from the side of Chochmah (Abba). Once things are divided up in this division, they are immediately bound together under the order of the four expansions of the Name, as discussed above.
The same way of resolving apparent contradictions applies in the case of the lights of the ear, the nose, the mouth and the eyes. In one place it says that they are the four letters of the Name of HaVaYaH. According to this, the ear is Yod, the nose is Heh, the mouth is Vav and the eyes are the last Heh (See Etz Chaim, Shaar Ozen, Chotem, Peh 4, 18a and Drushey Nekudot 8, 34b). Ywe find that the ear, nose and mouth are all only the first Heh of the Name, i.e. SaG (Drushey Nekudot 8, 34b). The apparent contradiction is resolved through understanding that the divisions are according to the need. Thus on the level of the particular, the ear-nose-mouth are the category of SaG, the first Heh. Yet all the different divisions are arranged under the order of HaVaYaH, blessed be He, and thus in general the ear, nose, mouth and eyes divide up according to the four letters of HaVaYaH.
We have thus now reached this order of the Likeness of Man. Everything we will be discussing from this point on follows the order that develops in accordance with what is inherent in this Adam Kadmon. We must therefore always speak in terms of the Likeness of Man. This is the basis for all of the kabbalistic teachings relating to the levels from Adam Kadmon onwards: the entire government is explained on the basis of the secret of the Likeness of Man. The Likeness of Man is the foundation of the government of the Universe.
To be continued.
Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum is the director of Azamra ( The 138 Openings of Wisdom is available for purchase here.

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The Divinite lights that emanate from the respective branches of Adam Kadmon, though initially far from one another, steadily come together and reveal a likeness of man.

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