271. "The word of Hashem came to Abraham in a vision, saying..." HE ASKS, What is meant by a vision? AND HE ANSWERS, This is the mirror, which is the grade in which all images appear. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold, before Abraham was circumcised, only one grade spoke to him. And which one was that? It was the 'vision,' NAMELY THE NUKVA. As it is written, "...seeing the vision of Shadai" (Bemidbar 24:16).
272. After Abraham was circumcised, all the grades rested upon that grade, WHICH IS CALLED THE VISION, and then He spoke to him. Hence, it is written, "And I appeared to Abraham," WHO IS THE SECRET OF CHESED, "to Isaac," WHO IS THE SECRET OF GVURAH, "and to Jacob," WHO IS THE SECRET OF TIFERET, "by the name of El Shadai" (Shemot 6:3), WHICH IS THE SECRET OF YESOD AND MALCHUT. ALL THE GRADES, FROM CHESED DOWNWARD, ILLUMINATE IN THE NUKVA. So, before he was circumcised, these grades did not yet speak to him, ONLY THE NUKVA, WHICH IS THE SECRET OF THE "VISION OF SHADAI" ALONE!
273. You might say that it is already written, "And Hashem appeared to Abraham," WHICH IS THE LEVEL OF NEFESH, AND "and Abraham journeyed, going on still toward the south," WHICH IS RUACH; and "and there he built an altar," WHICH IS NESHAMAH. If here are the supernal grades THAT HE ATTAINED, how can we say that before he was circumcised, the supernal grades did not rest upon that certain grade, in order to speak to him?
274. AND HE REPLIES, Come and behold, in the beginning; BEFORE HE WAS CIRCUMCISED, the Holy One, blessed be He, gave wisdom to Abraham, NAMELY THE AFOREMENTIONED SUPERNAL GRADES, so that he would know wisdom and would cleave to THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE. And Abraham did achieve the secret of Faith, but he could not speak to Him, only to the lower grade alone, NAMELY THE NUKVA AS SEEN "THROUGH THE VISION OF SHADAI." But after he was circumcised, then all the supernal grades rested upon this lower grade, in order to speak with him. And then Abraham ascended through all the grades, as has been explained.
275. Come and behold, as long as a man is not circumcised, he does not hold on to the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. As soon as he is circumcised, he enters His Name and is attached to it. And if you say that Abraham was nevertheless attached to Him even before he was circumcised, the response is that he was indeed attached to Him, but not properly. Because of the sublime love that the Holy One, blessed be He, felt toward Abraham, He brought him closer to Himself, BUT IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, IT WAS NOT AS IT SHOULD PROPERLY BE.
276. After, THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, commanded Abraham to circumcise himself, He presented him with the covenant, WHICH IS YESOD, which is the link to all the supernal grades. The covenant is the bond that links all the grades together, to be included within one another. The covenant is the bond that everything is bound to. And because of this, before Abraham was circumcised, He spoke with him only through the "vision," as we have stated. THE UPPER GRADES WERE MISSING FROM IT, BECAUSE THE COVENANT, WHICH LINKS ALL THE GRADES TOGETHER, WAS MISSING.
277. Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, He created it based on the covenant. It is written, "In the beginning (Heb. Beresheet) Elohim created (Heb. bara)" (Beresheet 1:1), WHERE SHEET (ARAM. SIX) refers to the covenant, because by relying upon the covenant, the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world. And it is also written, "If My covenant be not day and night, it were as if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth" (Yirmeyah 33:25). This is a unifying covenant, which ensures that day and night, WHICH ARE ZEIR ANPIN AND NUKVA, may not be separated.
278. Rabbi Elazar said, 'When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, it was on the condition that if Yisrael will came forth and receive Torah, all would be well. If Yisrael will not do so, then the world would be returned to chaos. So, the world was not firmly established until Yisrael stood at Mount Sinai and received Torah.
279. From that day onward, the Holy One, blessed be He, has been creating worlds. And what are these worlds? They are the matings of human beings. Because ever since that day, the Holy One blessed be He, has been making marriages, by saying, "The daughter of so to so for so and so." These are the worlds He creates, BECAUSE EVERY UNION OF A COUPLE IS CONSIDERED TO BE A WORLD.
280. Sitrei Torah (Concealed Torah). "After these things." These are the words of Torah, just as "These words Hashem spoke to all your assembly" (Devarim 5:19) are the words of Torah. THE MEANING OF THE VERSE IS THAT "After" a person has been occupied in this world with "these things (lit. 'words')," then the Holy One, blessed be He, prepares good tidings for the soul and welcomes it. As it is written, "Fear not, Abraham, I am your shield"; I shall shield you from all the evil aspects in Gehenom."