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Francis Warrain: From ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’–The System of the Scale-Part 1-Fundamental Relationships

Francis Warain,

picture frontispiece

in ‘La Théodicée de la Kabale’,

Editions Véga, 1949.


With today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, we are continuing our selections from Francis Warrain’s ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’, posthumously published by Editions Véga in 1949. This part 1 out of 5 parts on the subject of the System of the Scale we introduced in an earlier post. English translation from the original French by Via-HYGEIA. Original French runs from page 47 to 50. The transcription convention of the sephiroth’s names in English follows Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok’s usage, in his seminal ‘Walking in the Fire’. 1993-2007. Kosher Torah Publishing. This is the simple, luminous teaching of a very humble and wise man we have chosen to honor in this present series.


The System of the Scale

Part 1-Fundamental Relationships 

We have just reviewed all of the distincts modes that according to Kabbalah, express the adaptation of the Absolute to the conditions of relativity according to Reason. And these modes are the Sephiroth. We still have to review how these modes are distributed and are interconnected in order to fulfill this role of mediating terms. What needs to be done is to examine the combination of the Sephiroth elaborated as a system.

First of all, we ought to consider each Sephira as shrouding every inferior ones and as shrouded by all the superior ones. This notion is the very first one to arise when we oppose an effect to its total cause. The cause, in this case, necessarily takes precedence over the effect and shrouds it, if the effect does not waste it. Such is the first relationship between the Absolute and the relative.

But this primordial relationship is but the seed of a system, the virtuality of a development still held in store, in its principle. From there the thought evolves into a second notion: the subordination. The effect, then, is conceived like detached from the cause; it possesses a proper existence and found itself linked to the cause by a bond of dependance. The submission relationship transform into submission what was first shrouding. And that is shown by a linear and graduated distribution.

This one distribution corresponds to the period of the kings of Edom, who could not survive-except the last one. The three first sephiroth remained intimately united, because they represent the very structure of the Absolute as a concrete notion; from this structure originates the Principle of all relationships. If there is a decreasing procession from Keter towards Binah, there is some sort of perfect mirroring from Binah towards Keter. To that amount, subordination is resolved by an intimate union from which will originate the correlation between Hokhma and Binah.

But the 7 inferior Sephiroth are nothing but derived emanations, a descent into the relative; they are not constitutive but only emanated. But, the relationship of the Absolute with the relative is transcendant and immeasurable. To the Absolute, the relative is like a void. By its very condition, it cannot stand against the Absolute, as term of a relationship. This results in the death of the kings of Edom, or, as it amounts to the same, in the breaking of the Vases (see Genesis, XXXVI, 31-39.)

From the ‘Liber Tabularum’, by Fred MacParthy, Sesheta Publications, 2011 second edition. Page 231. Not in the original text, but shown here for comfort of discovery.


Does this world of the kings of Edom truly indicate a historical period? Is there any link between this destruction and the fall of the rebel angels? How are we to interpret this production that bares all the appearances of a failure? I will not try to answer this question. Nevertheless, this sentence expresses the inevitable antinomy appearing in the relationship between the relative and the Absolute. As a matter of fact, the Absolute seems to exclude anything that is not reduced to Itself; and the relative can only conceive the Absolute by making it relative. The Vases tried to embrase the Absolute and they broke. The last one, though, instead of breaking, bared a sort of deformation that brought it into a state of chaos; and it is this chaos that will be, somehow, the fulcrum, the seed of regeneration.

The breaking of the Vases expresses, also, a fundamental idea. In order for the relative to exist, it was necessary that, at one point, it would separate from the Absolute. Without separation, no creation: It is here a primordial condition, necessary, but not sufficient. The breaking of the 6 Vases that correspond to the Sephiroth Hesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod and the reduction of Malkhut into the chaos, seem to represent matter within its two functions. The shells produced by the breaking of the Vases represent the stopping function; Malkhut’s chaotic state of deformation representing the plastic function. In the stopping function, matter resists spiritual penetration: hence the shells. In the plastic function it submits to the spirit by receiving a form; and this add well to the idea we have of what Malkhut is about.

The restitution of the Vases produced the current distribution of the Sephiroth, that we will now endeavor to analyse. It happens when the male and female principles are placed face to face, and by the rule of the Scale; it proceeds by the elevation of the inferior towards the superior, in other words: by evolution. But this evolution is strengthened by a descent of the superior principles that come to establish an unshakable structure supporting everything and shroud themselves within lesser evolved principles, so to attenuate the energy of their radiation.

So, we clearly see the antinomy being resolved by a new process. The absolute incarnates, somehow, into the relative, dons it and penetrates it by bringing life into it. Here, the relationship of transcendance between the Absolute and the Relative evolves into a relationship of immanence. But, this transformation, in turn, does raise an antinomy; because the  Absolute cannot lose its  nature, hence becoming combined with the Relative and begin to be  in a composition with it. The solution is given in a marvelous way by the celestial Man, the Adam Kadmon, notion that seems to correspond to the conception of Christ, on the metaphysical level.

Human essence can be defined like this: a reasonable living being. But, Life is what is in itself principle and aim: in other words, the autonomy of Reality. Reason is what establishes all relationships and reports about it: it is the autonomy of thought. Both mark the function of the Absolute becoming immanent to the Relative, because Though and Life are fundamentally relationships.

The Absolute, therefore, splits in order to communicate with the Relative; but, the Relative must be brought back to the Absolute by the union of these two functions of the Absolute which became immanent to the Relative: Life and Reason must become one. This is the perfect state that defines the essence of Man; state achieved by the Absolute in the person of Christ or Adam Kadmon, being the term towards which Man orientate his direction.

We will not insist upon the supreme problem of the intimate penetration of the Absolute and the relative through  the divine Man. It would lead us to address the issue of the ‘Beings‘ (Personnes, in the original French), and the history of the Restitution that followed the breaking of the Vases. What ought to be remembered here is that the sephirotic system will be distributed according to Man’s design:

Man is first a thinking and living organism, a whole in which the unity of consciousness and life intimately penetrates all the parts involved and all the varied functions, due to the the multiplicity and diversity that constitute the Relative. The system of the Sephiroth will therefore be such that all parts will be connected by channels, and in each of them the whole system will be mirrored.

In second, Man appears as an instrument that connects the Absolute and the Relative; and this function is illustrated by his main organs: the head, the heart, the genital parts and the limbs. These organs manifest the attachement of the Relative to the Absolute through Thought, Life, Generation, Distribution (arms), Movement (legs) and finally the Support upon creation (feet). Man is built according to a mobile balance, with a tendency to be prone to occasional dissymmetry: Which brings us to the system of the Scale.

It is to the very constitution of the Scale that we ought now to focus our attention. A Scale in its simplest state comprise a fix axis (a middle column) usually vertical, a beam that forms with this axis a T or a cross; finally, two  scale trays suspended to the extremity of the beam. The Scale is the object of three fundamental relationships:

  1. The balance between the trays establishes a correlation relationship.
  2. The common suspension of the trays to a fulcrum  and the maintaining of the whole system by a support call to mind a subordination role.
  3. The different role of the two trays during the weighting introduces between the opposed terms a differentiation thanks to which an orientation or a current is produced.

In what follows, we will refer to Kircher’s sketches, because they seems to faithfully correspond to the doctrine of the Zohar and of the Idra books (Small & Great Assembly) and, at the same time, they make up for the insufficiency of information given by these texts.

To be continued…

Coming soon-Part 2-Bilateral Balance

‘Walking in the Fire’, by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok, Kosher Torah Publishing. 1993-2007. Not in the original text, but shown here for comfort of discovery.


Original French







More about Francis Warrain:
Francis Warrain: From ‘La Théodicée de la Kabbale’–The System of the Scale-Part 1-Fundamental Relationships

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