TIKKUN – REPAIR
Tikkun essentially means “repair.” With regard to spiritual matters it can apply to the soul of an individual and on a larger scale, “repair of the world” (Tikkun Olam). A basic idea regarding tikkun is, the more of the “truth of G-d” that is revealed, the greater tikkun occurs.
All I’m offering is the truth. – Morpheus to Neo
There is also the idea of those ‘chosen‘ to bring tikkun. In the movie, this is Neo’s destiny. But what exactly is it he is ‘chosen’ for?
This is what we are told, regarding the world preceding the Matrix:
Morpheus: We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early twenty-first century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI (artificial intelligence) … We don’t know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky.
Some of the storyline that did not make it into the movie script, is that the humans created robots, took advantage of them and grew ‘fat and happy’ – a common phenomenon in world history. The robots grew in intelligence (“AI”), began competing and winning in commerce with the humans, and the two sides ended up in a conflict. A war ensued with the machines getting the upper hand and enslaving most of humanity via the Matrix.
So what it that “the One” is destined to repair?
Let’s go back into the Torah for a moment. The idea of humans not being satisfied and transgressing boundaries goes back to Gan Edan where Adam sinned. Adam’s transgression impacted far more than one sees by reading only the literal text in Genesis.
According to the sages, what is referred to as “Creation,” is actually made up of three ‘worlds.’ (This is covered in another part of this study. You can research it more in depth on recommended web sites like aish.com or chabad.org.)
These three worlds of creation are reflected in the first three chapters of the Genesis narrative:
- The first is seen in Genesis chapter 1 where Adam is a single entity, ‘created’ as one being but addressed as “them.” This is the upper world of Beriah/Creation.
- In chapter 2 we see Adam come into being again, this time actually ‘formed’ and then separated into male and female entities, with the primary level of existence being in Gan Edan. This is the world of Yetzirah/Formation.
- Finally at the end of chapter 3, we see Adam and Chava evicted from Gan Edan into our current “physical” world, wearing skin ‘made’ for this purpose. This is the world of Asiyah/Making. Asiyah was there all along, but was not ‘intended’ to be our ‘primary level of existence.’
The materialistic world of Asiyah, that we presently exist in, is our Matrix world. The thing to consider here is that the sin of Adam had impact on all three of these worlds, and thus rectification/tikkun must come to all of them.
In the Matrix movies, there is tikkun to be made to three different “worlds” as well:
A.) the Matrix
B.) the human world (currently the underground “Zion”)
C.) the machine world
All of these corrections must begin in the lowest of these worlds – inside the Matrix – where all the worlds “meet.” Kabbalah teaches that rectification of the worlds occurs in Asiyah (the ‘physical’ world) for the same reasons. Only here can pure and impure occupy the same “space.”
Although tikkun may be accomplished through the actions of anyone who lives in accordance with Torah, the greatest level of tikkun emanates from the ‘tzadik’ – a righteous person dedicated to serving G-d.
To look at this in detail, we turn to a well-respected text, “Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three,” by Jacob Immanuel Schochet. The following citations are all from the section entitled, “The Concept of the Rebbe-Tzadik.” (Pages noted throughout below with “CD.”) Several connections to themes found in The Matrix will be shown.
The Tzadik as Conduit
The function and power of the tzadik, as the conduit of G-d’s light (Ohr Ein Sof), extends from the very foundation of our world.
As is taught: “For the world at large exists and subsists by virtue of these tzadikim, as it is said, ‘The tzadik is the foundation of the world’.” – Proverbs 10:25 (CD p. 88)
As Morpheus, explained, the origins of ‘the One’ back to the foundation of the Matrix:
When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit. It was he who freed the first of us, taught us the truth. As long as the Matrix exists the human race will never be free. After he died the Oracle prophesied his return and that his coming would hail the destruction of the Matrix and the war, bring freedom to our people. That is why there are those of us who have spent our entire lives searching the Matrix looking for him. I did what I did because I believe that search is over. Get some rest, you’re going to need it.
Man’s very weakness of having a body and soul that are often in conflict, is the strength of the tzadik, as both are connected in service to G-d, making the connection between worlds. This is reflected in Neo’s growth both in and out of the Matrix, culminating in his “binding of heaven and the earth” (i.e., the Matrix and machine world):
The tzadik is essentially a spiritual person. … The tzadik is thus joined to the spiritual reality. On the other hand he is also a soul in a body living in this physical world, which joins him to the earth as well. In that sense then, the tzadik becomes an intermediary, the common denominator that is able to join the physical and the spiritual, the heaven and the earth. He is the channel by means of which heaven and earth can relate to one another, the means by which Divine emanations are channeled to the world. Thus he becomes and is the foundation of the tzadik. He binds all worlds together. All emanations that flow from one world to the other, even from the most high, go through the tzadik. (CD p. 104)
Levels of Tzadikim
Neo is not the only ‘tzadik’ in the movie (though he reaches a higher level.) Trinity, Morpheus and Neo were all different levels of tzadikim, completely in service to others. The tzadik is referred to as both the gate and path for us to connect to the Divine.
As mentioned elsewhere in this study, Trinity acted as the first gate for Neo to advance:
How apt then, the Baal Shem Tov’s interpretation of Psalms 118:20, ‘This is the gate to G-d, tzadikim. Tzadikim are the gate to G-d’. (CD p. 111)
Morpheus’s role as a tzadik, incorporated elements of leader and father to all:
Tank: Morpheus, you’re more than a leader to us. You’re our father. We’ll miss you always.
The tzadik, the leader and shepherd of Israel, is the very heart of all the people of Israel. Thus he is the very specific channel connecting above and below. (CD p. 115)
The Tzadik providing for ascent of his Brothers
It is Neo, who ultimately opens the path for all to ascend:
Even as the tzadik is the path for Divine influences to the world in general, so he is also an intermediary for the people of his generation to ascend to Divinity. (CD p. 109)
Interestingly, the first movie ends with Neo “ascending” after he speaks these words:
Neo: I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
The Tzadik who reaches Chokmah/Wisdom
Neo’s path takes him to the Architect, which is the level of Chokmah/Wisdom. It is only after this that he has the opportunity to experience total ‘self-negation’ and bring tikkun to the Matrix and Zion.
The tzadik in this world, by virtue of having reached the level of Mah (chokMAH/wisdom & self-negation) – thus becoming attached to the supernal wisdom – becomes the intermediary through which the Heavenly abundance comes to this world when he himself exists.” (CD p. 109)
The Tzadik as the Connection between G-d and Man
In the dramatic final scene we see Neo literally joined and bound to the Deus ex machine – the “god from the machine” acting as the channel between it and all of the Matrix:
This is the tzadik who is able to join and bind together all worlds. As he himself is bound up with G-d on the one hand, and with the worlds on the other, he joins them all to Divinity. Thus he is the intermediary between them, the channel or funnel that serves as the passageway in both directions. (CD p. 108)
Though several characters are in the role of the tzadik through the movies, Neo attains the highest level, ‘elevating’ many of his people from the Matrix and bringing things back the proper state of equilibrium, which is called “Shalom.”
“When the TZaDIK awakens penance in the world or he repairs that which is ruined, then this attribute called SHaLoM mediates effectively between YHVH (Tiferet, the groom) and ADoNaY (Malkut, the bride) and it is the one which makes peace between them and brings them to dwell together without separation and mutilation in the world and when this happens YHVH will be one. You should know and believe that it is impossible to bring blessing to the world except through this attribute called SHaLoM. … The attribute SHaLoM empties life into the attribute ADoNay when they are infused as one. For great is the power of peace, since even the upper worlds need it, as it is written: “He who makes SHaLoM in the heavens …” (Job 25:2). When one latches on to Torah and other commandments, it is as if he brings SHaLoM to the heavenly household which is the essential meaning of the verse; “When he holds fast to my refuge, He makes SHaLoM for me, SHaLoM he makes for me.” (Isaiah 27:5).” (1)
All of which aligns perfectly with the very last word spoken by Neo in the final movie …
Deus Ex Machina: What do you want?
(1) Sha’are Orah (“Gates of Light”), Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, translated by Avi Weinstein, Altamira Press, 1994, p.67