Part 3. More About the Path of the One
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 (as previously shown in Zohar, Shemoth 175b).
Zeir Anpin - "Lesser Countenance"
An important concept to learn here is that these six Sefirot of; Chesed, Gevurah Tiferet, Netzakh, Hod and Yesod function as one partzuf – a ‘personification.’ Whereas Malkut alone represents the partzuf of “Bride,’ these other six Sefirot function together (in an infinite number of permutations) making up a partzuf known as “Groom,” or “Son.”
This partzuf is also called Zeir Anpin (ZA) meaning “Lesser Countenance” or “Small Face,” which corresponds to the six emotive faculties of the soul. These 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). (On a side note, this is why the bride circles the groom 7 times at a Jewish wedding.)
The Sefirah of Tiferet stands as representative of ZA and is most closely associated with the names YHVH and “Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu” (The Holy One Blessed be He). Further, the quality of Tiferet in a person is considered a result of total selflessness in the eyes of G-d. You love for no reason; you love because you are a reflection of G-d.
In addition to the unity of these six “middot,” there are some functional differences between these two sets of “threesomes.” As explained already, 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.
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:
"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." (Exodus 6:1-3)
Interjecting the Kabbalistic terminology into this verse:
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. 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. (It would seem that “testing” is more of a necessity for those who lean to the “right side of Chesed” (i.e., Abraham and Rebecca were tested), as it causes them to learn to ‘judge’ 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 have the ability to cause “miracles.” (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” – in the physical and spiritual worlds of existence – they will have mastery over what we typically consider the “rules” of “nature” or “reality.”
That is the foundation to this dialog:
As deep as these ideas run, in the words of the Oracle, “What's really going to bake your noodle later on is …” All of the above are keys to understanding why Neo, being the 6th version of “The One,” is successful at saving Zion. (More on this later!)
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:
Deut 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.
Deut 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.
We will next look at some of the characteristics of the “right” and “left” to see how they relate to the personalities and themes of the Matrix.