In this third section of nine articles, we will elaborate on several concepts mentioned in earlier sections, plus introduce some new ideas. We encourage people to go to kosher resources such as Aish.com or Chabad.org for more details on many of these subject matters.
Morpheus: When I see three objectives, three captains, three ships. I do not see coincidence, I see providence.
The number three is indeed an important number in the Matrix and also in kabbalah. One reason for the latter is that it has both ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ applications.
For example, when we speak of things such as the three levels of the soul that most of us ‘deal with’ in a lifetime, we are speaking of 3 ‘vertical’ levels in terms of spiritual ascent.
Starting at the ‘bottom,’ we have:
- Nefesh, associated with the physical world of Asiyah
- Ruach, associated with the angelic world of Yetzirah
- Neshama, associated with the heavenly throne of G-d of Beriah
Regarding the ‘horizontal’ view, when we contemplate the aspects of judgment and mercy, we speak of them in terms of ‘left and right sides,’ with a ‘central pillar of balance’ between the two extremes.
Merging these two ideas together, we have three rows and three columns, giving us a “grid” of nine. (Like a tic-tac-toe board.)
This is significant when we consider the Sefirot. Though there are ‘always ten’ Sefirot, there are only nine ‘active ones,’ as the last, Malchut, is considered passive, reacting in accordance to what ‘pours into it from above.’ This is why the color black is associated with Malchut, as black is made up of all the other colors.
This also applies when considering the lower seven Sefirot (middot). It is the reason that in the book of Revelation, the ‘seventh’ judgment in each set of seven has no function of its own, but opens the next sequence of occurrences. (i.e., Revelation 8:1, 10:7, 16:17)
These nine functional Sefirot are broken down into three groups of three, along a ‘vertical’ axis:
- The “highest” three are Keter, Chokmah and Binah (Sometimes Da’at is in place of Keter.) These three are called the ‘mochin’ which is basically the ‘intellectual’ Sefirot.
- The next six Sefirot are generally seen as a group called Ze’ir Anpin, which carries the idea of “Lesser Countenance.” Ze’ir Anpin is further broken down into two sub-groups.
- The “upper triad” of Chesed-Gevurah-Tiferet (called the acronym “ChaGaT”) makes the connection between the world of Ze’ir Anpin and the higher spiritual worlds (represented by the mochin).
- The “lower triad” of Netzach-Hod-Yesod (also called by the acronym “NeHiY”) primarily interacts between the world of Ze’ir Anpin and the “physical world” of Malchut, the final Sefirah, below it.
Returning to the ‘horizontal axis,’ all three sets of Sefirot are arranged along left-center-right columns of judgment-balance-mercy.
Viewing each row from left to right and from the top down:
Having established this ‘grid of nine,’ we have another ‘three’ to consider. The Sefirot function in all three worlds of Creation; Beriah/Creation, Yetzirah/Formation and Asiyah/Making.
- The world of Beriah carries with it the idea of “potential.”
- The world of Yetizrah is one of movement back and forth between Beriah and Asiya (i.e., the angels on Jacob’s ladder).
- The world of Asiya is our physical world where humans act to make things happen.
Thus we have three levels, each with nine active Sefirot. With this in mind, look at that quote from Morpheus again:
“When I see three objectives, three captains, three ships. I do not see coincidence, I see providence.”
Linking these together we have:
- Objectives = Beriah/potential/plan
- Ships = Yetzirah/movement/mission
- Captains = Asiyah/humans/choice
Now applying the idea of “chibur” (connecting) where numbers are multiplied and their product reveals, 3x3x3=27.
Returning to Neo, we see how he was able to connect the ‘two females’ – the Oracle in the world of Beriah, and Trinity in the world of Asiyah. In this action, he effectively is the ladder in Jacob’s dream, connecting the earth to the heavens. (This is explored in more detail in the section on Metatron.)
“The tzadik is like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, of which it is said, ‘Ascended and descended on it.’ For just as he is able to bring down the effluence and to extend it, so he is able to cause his whole generation to ascend.” (1)
“A ladder was set on the ground,’ this refers to Jacob our patriarch himself, ‘and its top reached the sky,’ for the image of his icon was engraved on the throne of glory.” (2)
AND BEHOLD A LADDER SET UP ON THE EARTH. This ladder signifies the grade on which the other grades rest (i.e., Yesod), to wit, the “Foundation of the world” (the Tzaddik). AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN , so as to be attached to it. For this grade (Yesod), is the conclusion of the Body (the upper nine Sefirot) standing between the upper and the lower world in the same way as the sign of the covenant is situated at the end of the trunk of the body, between the thighs (i.e., between Netzah and Hod). (3)
For Neo to have reached this level of accomplishment, he had to attain knowledge (da’at) of each of these three worlds. To express it another way, he goes through all nine functional Sefirot in each of the three worlds of Asiyah, Yetzirah and Beriah.
Thus, Neo’s path was made up of “mastering” the 27 functional Sefirot to get from the Malchut of the lowest world of creation (Asiyah) up to the Keter of Beriah, the highest point in the world of Creation.
It is when he arrives at the Keter of Beriah that he has access to the Architect, in the next (pre-creation) world of “Atzilut,” which means “nearness” (to G-d) and within the midrash of the movie, ‘nearness to the Machine World.’
Keeping all this in mind as you re-read the following dialogue, which describes what it will take for Neo to get to this level:
Keymaker: There’s a building. Inside this building there’s a level where no elevator can go, and no stair can reach. This level is filled with doors. These doors lead to many places, hidden places, but one door is special. One door leads to the Source. This building is protected by a very secure system. Every alarm triggers the bomb. … But like all systems it has a weakness. The system is based on the rules of a building. One system built on another.
Keymaker: If one fails, so must the other.
Niobe: No electricity, no alarms.
Ghost: But you’d have to take out a whole city block to kill the power to a building like that.
Keymaker: Not one, twenty-seven.
Neo’s journey from the pod he once was asleep in, to having access to the Architect, runs over these 27 functional Sefirot.
The concept of the 27 blocks/Sefirot spanning the three worlds of creation, is portrayed on the first screen of this study.
- Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three, by Jacob Immanuel Schochet, 106
- Midrash Leqah Tov of Tobias ben Eliezer. As cited in “Along the Path – Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism and Hermeneutics,” Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, 1995.)
- Zohar, Bereshith 149b