Ze’ir Anpin

Thus far, we’ve looked at the Path of the One/Tzadik as a central path flanked by opposites/extremes on the left and right. Just as Yesod was seen as the “balanced center” between Netzach and Hod, so too is the next gate along the central path,Tiferet, considered the harmony of the Chesed (Mercy) on the right and Gevurah (Judgment) on the left.

Another aspect of the Sefirot are what are called “partzufim” which are spiritual personae associated with how we relate to G-d.

Four main partzufim are based on the four-letter name of G-d, as follows:

  • Yud = Abba/Father = Chokmah
  • Hey = Imma/Mother = Binah
  • Vav = Son or Groom = the next six Sefirot
  • Hey = Daughter or Bride = Malkhut

What jumps out here is that the six Sefirot of; Chesed, Gevurah Tiferet, Netzakh, Hod and Yesod, all function as one partzuf. Whereas Malkut alone represents the partzuf of “bride” or “daughter.” these other six Sefirot function together (in an infinite number of permutations) making up a partzuf known as “groom,” or “son.”

This partzuf of the groom is also called Zeir Anpin (ZA) meaning “Lesser Countenance” or “Small Face.” The combined seven Sefirot, (ZA and Malkhut, i.e., the “groom and bride”) are those which govern our physical reality. Collectively, they are called the Seven Middot (emotive attributes).

As expressed by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, the six Sefirot of Zeir Anpin first come together, then connect to the higher levels:

“The six sefirot from chesed to yesod join and develop to form the partzuf of Zeir Anpin. Zeir Anpin receives its “head” or “brain-power” (the three higher sefirot of chochmah binah da’at) from the higher partzufim of Abba and Imma.” (1)

There are some functional differences between the two sets of “threesomes” found in ZA.  The “lower triad” of Netzach-Hod-Yesod (also called the acronym “NeHiY”) primarily interacts between the “physical world” (Malkut) and the “angelic” world of ZA.

The “upper triad” of Chesed-Gevurah-Tiferet (also called the acronym “ChaGaT”) functions along the same left-center-right columns making the connection between the world of ZA and the higher spiritual worlds (represented by the Mochin: Binah, Chokmah and Keter.)

One way this difference is expressed is regarding “prophecy.” Whereas the prophets of the Bible, reached to the level of Netzach-Hod-Yesod, Moshe’s connection was at the next level, expressed by his connection to the central Sefirah of Tiferet.

This is found in this interesting verse:

Exodus 6:1-3 – And YHVH spoke to Moses and said to him, I am YHVH. And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai, but My name YHVH I did not make known to them.”

Interjecting the Kabbalistic terminology into this verse, it could read like this:

“Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu spoke to Moses and said to him, I am connecting to you at the level of YHVH. And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob at the level of Yesod-Netzach-Hod, but the level of Tiferet I did not make known to them.”

Returning to our Matrix story, the path of Neo is much like that of Moshe – to make the same level of connection he did at the level of Tiferet, from where he functions ‘in both directions,’ bring down higher wisdom to his peers and elevating them to the higher levels. This requires many challenges and rectifications of each level of the soul. Neo, like Moses, has a series of ever increasingly complex tests to pass in order to attain this position.

It would seem that “testing” is more of a necessity for those who lean to the “proactive side of Chesed.” Moses, Abraham and Rebecca are associated with the ‘right side’ of the Tree of Life (due to their mercy and kindness) and were all tested. This causes them to learn to ‘judge’ (the restrictive side of Gevurah) and act accordingly.

Interestingly, Morpheus spoke of the first “One” in terms very reminiscent of Abraham, who, while living beneath the klippot of his pagan world, came to “understand about G-d” and gained the ability to operate beyond the ‘rules of nature.’  (i.e., Sefer Yetzirah is attributed by many to him.)

Morpheus : 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, end the war, bring freedom to our people.

Simply stated; when such a person achieves the complete tikkun over both “left and right” (judgment and mercy) in the physical and spiritual worlds of existence – they will have mastery over what we typically consider the rules of nature/reality.

That is the foundation to this dialog:

Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.

Regarding the “Path of the Tzadik,” the challenge the Torah gives us it to avoid going to much to the “left” or the “right.” We find this in several places:

Deuteronomy 5:32 – Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

Deuteronomy 17:11 – According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.

Clearly, it seems the left and right are not where G-d wants us. Yet G-d Himself created everything, including this “left and right.” Kaballistically speaking, if we lean too far to the right side (that of “unbounded confidence”) certain details may confuse us as they did Morpheus as well as the Architect (not to mention the wise King Solomon).

On the other hand if we are too far to the left side of detail, we may not be able to see the big picture, as was the Merovingian’s shortcoming as well as Agent Smith’s – and to some extent, the Oracle – as all three mainly function from the left.

This does not mean however, that the emanations on the right or left are “evil” – after all G-d’s mercy is from the right and his perfect justice from the left. What it is telling us is to learn of these characteristics (they being part of the B’tzelem Elohim) then find the proper equilibrium within each one and then among them all.

Attaining the Six

As mentioned, Neo’s journey began at the level of Malkut when he met Trinity. He then moved along to the level of the six Sefirot of “Ze’ir Anpin,” in his encounters with Morpheus and the Merovingian. It is here at this level the he must develop certain deficient aspects of his character before proceeding to the higher levels (the “Mochin”) as symbolized by his next encounters with Seraph and the Keymaker, who both open higher-level “doors” for him.

As the Oracle counseled him:

“Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.

Part of the process of this unification of the “six” and the “seven” is the prior “coming together” of the six. This idea of the six as a group being “formed” is seen in a number of places:

  • The six sons of Leah
  • The six steps the throne of Solomon (1 Kings 10:19, Midrash Rabbah, Devarim 5:6)
  • The six days of creation leading to the seventh day of Shabbat:

    Zohar, Bereshith 31a: Jose propounded the question: What are the six days of Bereshith of which the Rabbis speak so often? R. Simeon answered: These are, in truth, the cedars of Lebanon which he has planted. As the cedars spring from Lebanon, so these six days spring from Bereshith. These are the six supernal days which are specified in the verse: Thine, O Lord, are the Greatness (Gedulah), the Might (Geburah), the Beauty (Tifereth), the Victory (Nezah), and the Majesty (Hod) (I Chronicles 29:11). The words “For all” refer to the Zaddik (righteous one, who is Yesod (foundation of the world).

  • The six aspects of our three-dimensional space continuum:

    Zohar, Bereshith 3b:BERESHITH (In the beginning). Said R. Yudai: What is the meaning of Bereshith? It means with Wisdom, the Wisdom on which the world is based, and through this it introduces us to deep and recondite mysteries. In it, too, is the inscription of six chief supernal directions, out of which there issues the totality of existence. 

The idea of “six righteous ones” coming, the last of whom is the Messiah, is found in these Midrashim:

Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 97 — Thus a waw was added to Nahshon, hinting that six righteous men would come forth from his tribe, each of whom was blessed with six virtues. Thus of David it is written, That is skilful in playing, and a mighty man of valour, and a man of war, and prudent in affairs, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him (I Samuel. 16:18. Of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah it is written, Youths in whom was no blemish, but fair to look on, and skilful in all wisdom, and skilful in knowledge, and discerning in thought, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace (Daniel 1:4). Of Hezekiah too six virtues are recorded: And his name is called, Wonderful, Counsellor, Prince, Mighty, Everlasting father, Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:5).  Of Daniel it is written, Forasmuch as a surpassing spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and declaring of riddles, and loosing of knots, were found in the same Daniel (Daniel 5:12). Finally, of the royal Messiah it is written, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

Midrash Rabbah, Ruth 7:1,2 – “AND SHE LAY AT HIS FEET UNTIL THE MORNING, AND SHE ROSE UP BEFORE ONE COULD DISCERN THE OTHER.” R. Berekiah said: BEFORE (BETEREM) is written with an extra waw (vav), teaching that she tarried with him for six hours, the numerical equivalent of the letter waw. FOR HE SAID: LET IT NOT BE KNOWN THAT THE WOMAN CAME TO THE THRESHING-FLOOR (ib.). To whom did he say this? R. Meir said: To his major- domo. R. Hunya and R. Jeremiah in the name of R. Samuel b. R. Isaac said: All that night Boaz lay stretched out upon his face, and prayed, Lord of the Universe, it is revealed and known to Thee that I did not touch her; so may it be Thy will that it be not known that the woman came to the threshing-floor, that the name of Heaven be not profaned through me.AND HE SAID: BRING THE MANTLE THAT IS UPON THEE (ib. 15). BRING (HABI) is written habah, teaching that he addressed her in the masculine, that none should notice her. AND HOLD IT. teaches that she girded her loins like a man. AND HE MEASURED SIX MEASURES OF BARLEY, AND LAID IT ON HER. R. Simon said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris: Is it then the custom of a king to betroth a wife with six grains of barley? Or is it the custom of a woman to be betrothed with six se’ah of barley? R. JudaSimon said: The meaning is that as a reward for, AND HE MEASURED SIX BARLEYS AND LAID [THEM] ON HER, he was vouchsafed that there should arise from her six righteous men, each one of them possessing six outstanding virtues, viz. David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, Daniel, and the Messiah. David, as it is said, Skilful in playing, and a mighty man of valour, and a man of war, and prudent in affairs, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him (I Samuel 16:18); Hezekiah, as it is said, That the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it, through justice and through righteousness (Isaiah 9:6). And his name is called Pele- joez-el-gibbor-abi-ad-sar-shalom (ib. 5).4 Some observe that l’marbeh (be increased) is written with a closed mem.5 Josiah, as it is said, For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out its roots by the river, etc. (Jeremiah 17:8). Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, as it is said, Youths in whom there was no blemish, but fair to look on, and skilful in all wisdom, and skilful in knowledge, and discerning in thought, and such as had ability  (Daniel 1:4). Daniel, as it is said, A surpassing spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and declaring of riddles, and loosing of knots, were found in the same Daniel (ib. v, 12). The Messiah, as it is said, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, etc. (Isaiah 11:2).

The following Midrash also presents the one who “restores the six” as the Messiah:

Midrash Rabbah, Numbers 13:12 – The numerical value of waw is six, corresponding to the six things which were taken from Adam and which are to be restored through the son of Nahshon, that is, the Messiah.

All of the above is very significant with regard to something the Architect revealed to Neo:

“The matrix is older than you know. I prefer counting from the emergence of one integral anomaly to the emergence of the next, in which case this is the sixth version.”

Neo is the final version of “the One” (the “anomaly” as he is referred to) as he is the sixth of six, completing the totality of Ze’ir Anpin, which is now ready to return to the “Source” – the machine mainframe.

This movie concept directly relates to this passage of the Zohar, which speaks of the soul that completes this process of six-time rectification in order to “return” to its “source”:

Zohar, Shemoth 94a-b:  When a soul is doomed to undergo transmigration, should it be one which has emanated from the side of the Servant, Metatron, who represents in himself six aspects, then the successive revolutions of that soul will not be more than six years (i.e. times) until it shall have completed the six stages which lead back to the region from whence it came.

Interestingly, the titles of the second and third Matrix movies, (“Reloaded” and “Revolutions”) may be seen as synonymous with “transmigration.”

Neo has encounters with ‘six’ on two occasions. In the first movie, part of his experience moving from the non-reality of the Matrix to understanding ‘the real world’ centers around learning from the six members of the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar:

The crew and their associated Sefirot of Ze’ir Anpin:

  • Dozer: Chesed
  • Cypher: Gevurah
  • Tiferet: Tank
  • Apok: Netzach
  • Switch: Hod
  • Mouse: Yesod

In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo encounters another six. He advances past the level of the Merovingian (Yesod) by fighting with and overcoming his six henchmen.

Watch the scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPyLF7NxZyY


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