338. The letter Bet of Beresheet is large ACCORDING TO TRADITION. Rabbi Yosi asked Rabbi Shimon, What are these six days of Beresheet that we learn about? RABBI SHIMON answered him that it is written: "The cedars of Lebanon, which He has planted..." (Tehilim 104:16). Just as these cedars emerge from Lebanon, so these six days of Creation emerge from Beresheet.
339. These supernal six days OF CREATION are described in the scriptures, as is written: "Yours, Hashem, is the greatness," NAMELY CHESED, "and the power (Heb. Gvurah) and the glory (Heb. Tiferet) and the victory (Heb. Netzach) and the majesty (Heb. Hod), for all," WHICH IS THE RIGHTEOUS, NAMELY YESOD; "that is in heaven," ALLUDES TO TIFERET, AND "and on earth" TO MALCHUT, WHICH IS THE CONGREGATION OF YISRAEL (I Divrei Hayamim 29:11). This is translated into Aramaic as: "That is attached to the heavens and to the earth." This means that the foundation (Yesod) of the world - NAMELY YESOD OF ZEIR ANPIN, which is called "All" - is attached to Tiferet, which is called heavens, and to the earth, which is called the Congregation of Yisrael, NAMELY MALCHUT.
340. This is why IT SAYS Beresheet, ABOUT CHOCHMAH, WHICH IS COMPOSED OF Bet Resheet. The numerical value of Bet is two, because CHOCHMAH is the second OF THE TEN SFIROT. It is called Resheet (Beginning) because, ALTHOUGH the supernal and concealed Keter is the first OF THE SFIROT, KETER is not included in the number OF THE SFIROT. THUS, the second - NAMELY CHOCHMAH - is CONSIDERED AS THE Resheet (Beginning). Therefore, IT IS CONSIDERED Bet Resheet, BET, SINCE IT IS THE SECOND SFIRAH IN THE ORDER OF THE EMANATION OF THE SFIROT, AND 'BEGINNING,' SINCE IT IS THE FIRST IN THE COUNTING, AS KETER IS NOT COUNTED. Furthermore, just as the upper Chochmah is a beginning, so is the lower Chochmah a beginning. FROM THE UPPER CHOCHMAH DOWN TO MALCHUT, WHICH IS THE LOWER CHOCHMAH, THERE IS NO SFIRAH THAT MAY RECEIVE FOR ITSELF THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH. Hence, Bet should not be separated from Resheet. IN OTHER WORDS, THIS BET ALLUDES TO MALCHUT, WHICH IS THE LOWER CHOCHMAH. SINCE THERE IS NO OTHER SFIRAH BETWEEN THEM THAT MAY RECEIVE THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, MALCHUT AND RESHEET SHOULD BE JOINED TO FORM BERESHEET.
341. "In the beginning" is considered a saying FROM AMONG THE TEN DIVINE SAYINGS and so it is. Six days emerge from it, FROM BERESHEET, and are included within it and these SIX THAT ARE HINTED AT IN BARA SHEET (LIT. 'CREATED SIX'), WHICH EMERGED FROM BERESHEET, ARE named like the six OF ZEIR ANPIN THAT EMERGED FROM HIM. NEVERTHELESS, BERESHEET IN ITSELF IS A COMPLETE SAYING.
342. The words: "Elohim created" are analogous to what is written: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden..." (Beresheet 2:10), BECAUSE THE WORD "CREATED" MEANS WENT OUT. HE ASKS: What is the meaning of: "To water the garden?" HE REPLIES: IT MEANS to water MALCHUT THAT IS CALLED THE GARDEN and sustain it and keep watch over all its needs. The word "Elohim" ALLUDES TO BINAH, WHICH IS CALLED living Elohim WHEN IT RETURNS TO CHOCHMAH, BECAUSE the meaning of "In the beginning Elohim created" holds only through this river. ALL THIS brings forth AND EMANATES EVERYTHING, and waters everything, BESTOWING THE MOCHIN OF CHOCHMAH TO ALL.
343. "The heaven" ALLUDES TO a proper union of male and female, BECAUSE ET (THE) IS THE FEMALE AND HEAVEN IS THE MALE. Afterwards, the lower world was created by this union. In THE WORLD BELOW, everything reached completion. "The (et) heaven" means that heaven, NAMELY ZEIR ANPIN, brought forth ITS OWN FEMALE PRINCIPLE - CALLED Et - with the power IT RECEIVED from living Elohim, WHO IS BINAH - after Resheet (ARICH ANPIN) emanated BINAH USING THE NAME OF LIVING ELOHIM.
344. As a result, LIVING ELOHIM brought forth everything and put all things in their places as one. This last ring became Resheet. Through this beginning, NAMELY THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE, he created the supernal lights, WHICH ARE THE SECRET OF THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH, and she began to shine BY THE ILLUMINATION OF CHOCHMAH. The water, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF CHASSADIM, began to flow DOWNWARD FROM IT for the lower beings to receive, AS THEY CAN RECEIVE ONLY FROM THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE. According to this, Elohim has created everything through Resheet, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF CHOCHMAH. He has created the lower world, NAMELY THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE OF ZEIR ANPIN, WHICH IS CALLED RESHEET AS WELL. By THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE OF ZEIR ANPIN, he created AND REVEALED the lights OF CHOCHMAH. Through her, he gave power to all THE GRADES, BECAUSE THE LIGHT OF CHOCHMAH IS THE SUSTENANCE OF ALL THE GRADES.
345. Rabbi Yehuda said: This is why it is written, "Shall the ax boast itself against him that hews with it?" (Yeshayah 10:15). Who deserves the praise? Is it not the artisan who hews? Here as well, in this Resheet, the supernal Elohim, NAMELY BINAH, WHO created the heaven and all else, is the one to be praised, Elohim, NAMELY BINAH.
346. Rabbi Yosi commented on the verse: "...that has Elohim so near to them" (Devarim 4:7). HE ASKS: WHY IS IT WRITTEN "so near" in the plural? It should have been in the singular. HE EXPLAINS: But there is supernal Elohim, WHICH IS BINAH, Elohim of the fear of Isaac, WHICH IS GVURAH OF ZEIR ANPIN, AND the last Elohim, WHICH IS THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE OF ZEIR ANPIN. THIS LAST IS CALLED ELOHIM, BECAUSE THE NAME ELOHIM OF BINAH EXPANDS AND SHINES ON GVURAH AND MALCHUT. For this reason, IT IS WRITTEN "so near" in the plural. There are many Gvurot THAT ARE CALLED BY THE NAME 'ELOHIM.' THESE ARE THE SECRET OF THE 120 PERMUTATIONS OF THE NAME ELOHIM, but all THESE NAMES OF ELOHIM are really one. THEY ARE ALL EXTENSIONS OF THE SUPERNAL ELOHIM, WHICH IS BINAH.
347. Tosefta (addendum): THE ZOHAR EXPLAINS HOW ALL THE TEN SFIROT ARE ALLUDED TO IN THE FIRST VERSE OF THE TORAH. "In the beginning...created" alludes to Keter and Chochmah. "Elohim" alludes to Binah, "Et (the)" alludes to greatness and Gvurah, "the heaven" is Tiferet, "And the" alludes to Netzach, Hod and Yesod. "And the earth" alludes to Malchut. (End of Tosefta)