Part 4. The Right Side of the Path


As mentioned, this study is not a primer on kabbalistic concepts. At times (especially in these early parts of this study) we will make brief mention of key ideas, especially when applying them to themes from the Matrix.

For those new to this, we highly recommend kosher teachings such as those found on the Aish haTorah site at http://www.aish.com/sp/k/

But, for now, in order to set up future discussions on Matrix themes, we will touch on a few basics.

According to traditional teaching, there are a total of 10 “Sefirot” (“emanations” or “attributes” of G-d that we can relate to.) These 10 make up the concept of B’tzelem Elohim, the Image of G-d. Of the many ways of considering these, one is placing them along three columns of; left/judgment, center/balance and right/mercy.

These 10 Sefirot are further divided into a ‘lower seven’ called the ‘middot’ which are mainly the ones we deal with regularly in our daily existence, and an ‘upper three’ called the ‘mochin’ or ‘brains’ which mainly “oversee things” that function beyond our reality yet impact it. Each of the mochin also serves as the head of one of the columns.

The mochin and their respective columns are:

On the Left: Binah/Understanding

On the Right: Chokmah/Wisdom

On the Center: Keter/Crown (when speaking of “beyond existence.") When speaking of the manifestation of Keter within existence, we refer to Da’at/Knowledge,


In this section, we will focus on examining the “right side” of the Tree of Life.

The right pillar of the tree (as with the left) has three Sefirot. The head of the pillar is the Sefirah of Chokmah/Wisdom. As mentioned earlier, below this is Chesed/Mercy and finally the “bottommost” is Netzach/Victory. Although, "Wisdom" is the head, it is called the "Pillar of Mercy" as this is the attribute we primarily deal with in our reality.

A key attribute to the side of the right is that of “active/force” as opposed to the passivity and form/restriction/receptivity of the left. Thus, the right side attributes are considered “masculine” as opposed to those of the left which are called “feminine.”

Traditional attributes of the three Sefirot from the right (and these all come up in the movie) include:

Chokmah (Primary meaning: Wisdom. Also known as: Revelation, the Primordial Torah (the Torah that existed before creation), Father, Yesh me-ayin (being from nothingness), beginning, the past, the name YAH)

Chesed (Primary meaning: Mercy. Also known as: Grace, Love of God, right arm of God, white, the name EL, associated with Abraham)

Netzach (Primary meaning: Victory. Also known as: eternity, prophecy, orchestration, initiative, persistence, bitachon (confidence), right leg, the name "Hosts of YHWH," associated with Moses)


As mentioned, Morpheus, more than any of the other characters, exhibits an abundance of attributes of the right side. This applies to his role as a tzadik as well as the one seeking and training the greater tzadik - Neo.

His driving force is ‘belief’ – one largely based in a prophecy. The “force” of his actions, coming from the boundless quality of mercy of the right, are based on ideas that do not require the “form” demanded of things from the left:

Commander Lock: Dammit, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe. 
Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to. 

As part of his system of ‘belief,’ details are less critical but trust is imperative, as is seen in this tense dialog:

Morpheus: Given your situation, I can't say I fully understand your reasons for volunteering to operate on my ship. However, if you wish to continue to do so, I must ask you to do one thing. 
Link: What's that, sir? 
Morpheus: ...To trust me.

From the onset of the first movie, Morpheus speaks of the past; the beginning of the man-machine conflict, the creation of the Matrix, the search for The One, etc. This aspect of the “past” is based in the upper emanation of Chokmah/Wisdom which along with the emanation of Binah/Understanding, form the past and future dimensions of time.

It should be noted, that whereas there is but one past, there are many possible futures. This is a key aspect of the Oracle being more of a ‘guide’ than one who ‘knows the future’ – something outlined in this dialog:

Neo: So is this the same Oracle who made the prophecy? … And she knows what? Everything?

Morpheus: She would say she knows enough.

Neo: And she's never wrong?

Morpheus: Try not to think in terms of right or wrong. She is a guide, Neo. She can help you to find the path.

As mentioned, the right side, is the active side of "force" generally called by the name/Sefirah of chesed/mercy, which is associated with Abraham.

As discussed in the previous section, Morpheus spoke of the first "One" who began the movement to free those within the Matrix, in terms that could easily be applied to Abraham (especially if one considers the idea that the he (and Sarah) brought many souls to G-d and also that the Sefer Yetzirah with its "formulas" to "change" things in the physical world, is attributed 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.”

Lest anyone think Abraham was not considered such an "active force of change," compare Morpheus' words above to this description of Abraham:

"Avram was chosen by G-d because of his defiant character. Yet, it was this same character trait that brought Avram into direct political and social opposition with the powers in his day. Avram was a man who stood up against injustice. He was the first to be defined as a hero. Long before Benjamin Franklin coined the words, “rebellion against tyrants is obedience to G-d,” Avram lived this. Avram fought tirelessly against the ruthless oppressive government of the evil Nimrod, who Torah records was the first “mind-controlling” dictator. In this battle against oppressive government and imposed idolatrous religion, Avram lost his brother, who was murdered by the government
authorities for having followed Avram. As a single man, leader of a small band, there was not much he could do to change the system from within, therefore by Divine command, Avram removed himself from the corruption of his society and went to what was in his days the hinterlands, the then equivalent of the wild wild west, the land of Canaan. It was there that he could live in peace and build his movement. And this is exactly what he did."
 
(From HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok)

The other (very mysterious) character who functions from the right pillar, is the Architect. He too is concerned with the past; the previous Matrixes and past “Neos” (yes, we’ll get to that). His lair (which Neo gets to visit) is made of walls of video screens depicting multiple scenes from the past – including Neo’s life as well as general human history. As he himself states, he is the "Father" of the Matrix.

The idea of "Father" ("Abba") is a cognomen of the Sefirah of Chokmah and is the highest level we can conceive of G-d within our current existence. (Which is "infinitely distinct and separate" from G-d as "Ein Sof" which is beyond our comprehension.)

The Architect's shortcoming, as with Morpheus, is that although he sees the ‘big picture’ and is very "goal oriented," he cannot understand when things don’t quite work out due to "changes in the plan." Perhaps the greatest fault of the Architect is his assumption that the past will continue to repeat itself – hence the limited “choice” he offers Neo – of destroying all or part of Zion.

Note how singular his view is as he speaks with Neo – his view is a static one based solely on his concept of predictability based on patterns of the past:

The first matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect. It was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumph only equaled by its monumental failure. You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed. Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated. … Denial is the most predictable of all human responses. But, rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it … There are two doors. The door to your right leads to the Source and the salvation of Zion. The door to your left leads back to the Matrix, to her... and to the end of your species. As you adequately put, the problem is choice. But we already know what you are going to do, don't we? Already I can see the chain reaction: the chemical precursors that signal the onset of an emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic and reason. An emotion that is already blinding you to the simple and obvious truth: she is going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it. … It is interesting reading your reactions. Your five predecessors were, by design, based on a similar predication: a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the One.

The Oracle explains the "deficiency" of the Architect as follows:

Neo: The Architect told me that if I didn't return to the Source, Zion would be destroyed by midnight tonight.
Oracle:
Please... You and I may not be able to see beyond our own choices, but that man can't see past any choices.
Neo:
Why not?
Oracle:
He doesn't understand them - he can't. To him they are variables in an equation. One at a time each variable must be solved and countered. That's his purpose: to balance the equation.

Here is the Oracle’s view in a nutshell:

We're all here to do what we're all here to do. I'm interested in one thing, Neo. The future. And believe me, I know: the only way to get there is together.

The Oracle, among other roles, is the Eshet Chayil - the Woman of Valor. She "understands" (Binah) what needs to be done, when and how.

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