The Zohar (and the Sulam even more so) refers to 'Zer Anpin', usually in relationship to other middos/bechinos such as Malchus. What does Zer Anpin mean?

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeir_Anpin Can you clarify your question? Are you asking for a literal translation? What exactly about Zer Anpin are you looking to find out? – Double AA Jun 24 '14 at 13:21
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    I am surprised you learning the 'sulam' without knowing such a basic thing. I would advise you if you are learning Zohar not to use the sulam but the sefer from Rav D Frish matok midvash. – preferred Jun 24 '14 at 16:33
  • There is an article on Partzufim at the end of the English edition of Tanya which talks about ze'ir anpin. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 24 '14 at 16:52
  • @preferred I'm currently learning the Nefesh Hachaim and looking up the Zohar's that he quotes. I'm not looking to understand the Zohar's whole system or any single concept too deeply but I have seen Zer Anpin so many times I'd like a basic idea of what he means. – Gavriel Jun 24 '14 at 17:32
  • see the book inner space by rabbi aryeh kaplan – ray Jun 24 '14 at 21:18

Ze'eir Anpin is the name of one of the partzufim, which is a term someone asked about recently: What is a parzuf?

In general, if you're familiar with the idea of the sefirot, Ze'eir Anpin correlates to the six sefirot Hesed, Gevurah, Tif'eret, Netzah, Hod, Yesod. These sefirot are often considered aspects of the single sefirah Tif'eret. So, you could think of Ze'eir Anpin as a name for the sefirah Tif'eret.

The sense of the name seems to have to do with a contrast to Arikh Anpin, which is the name of the partzuf that correlates to the sefirah of Keter, and which means 'long-tolerant', 'forgiving', 'merciful' (erekh appayyim in Hebrew): if that level is a level of pure loving-kindness without end, then Ze'eir Anpin, which would literally mean something like 'short-of-tolerance' [relative to Arikh Anpin], would be a blending or balancing of kindness and severity.

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  • I'm curious if you have a source for your last paragraph? Since it isn't the pirush on the two that I am familiar with, I would like to investigate. – Yishai Jun 24 '14 at 16:52
  • Hi Yishai--you mean about the name Ze'eir in contrast to Arikh? I had in mind Kla"h Pithei Hokhmah of the Ramhal, פתח צב. – paquda Jun 24 '14 at 16:59
  • This is the page: hebrewbooks.org/… – paquda Jun 24 '14 at 17:01

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