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    8. The Photosynthetic Structures within the Leaf

    Table of Contents


    The following, from largest to smallest, are the primary structures, wherein the photosynthetic process takes place: (1) leaf, (2) leaf cell, (3) chloroplast (stroma), (4) thylakoid, (5) photosystem, (6) molecules (atoms) and (7) subatomic particles.

    We must point out for the sake of clarification that the light-cycle occurs in the thylakoids while the dark (Calvin) cycle takes places in the stroma, the colloidal matrix that fills the chloroplast and surrounds the thylakoids. The molecular-atomic structures relate to the various molecules that participate in the process, such as chlorophyll, proteins, water, etc. At the smallest level (subatomic particles), the main components are photons (light) and electrons (e-).

    leaf structure


    This natural division of the leaf into seven components corresponds to the division of the sefirot from Lovingkindness to Kingdom, with chesed representing the smallest component and Kingdom, the leaf itself.
    sefirah photosynthesis structure
    Lovingkindness (hesed., hesed) subatomic particles
    Might (gevurah., gevurah) molecules (atoms)
    Beauty (tiferet.gif 39x12, tiferet) photosystems
    Victory (netzach., netzah) thylakoid
    Splendor (hod., hod) Chloroplast(stroma)
    Foundation (yisod., yesod) cell
    Kingdom (malhut., malhut) leaf

    Let us now contemplate the fact that photosynthesis occurs at the thylakoid and stroma (chloroplast) levels, corresponding to the sefirot of Victory and Splendor. These two levels actually combine into one process, in the same way that Victory and Splendor are described in Kabbalah (Tikkunei Zohar 13, 28b) as an essential pair: "He is in Victory, she is in Splendor".

    Whenever a pair of concepts is referred to in Kabbalah as possessing a male-female character, one expects the inner-directed male quality to be surrounded, as it were, by the female quality-in line with the verse (Jeremiah 31:21): "the female shall surround the male". This indeed is the case with regard to their photosynthetic counterparts, insofar as the female stroma (chloroplast), where the dark (Calvin) cycle occurs, surrounds and encloses the male thylakoid where the light cycle takes place.

    Furthermore, there is a statement of Resh Lakish in the Talmud (BT Hagigah 12b) identifying seven firmaments named: curtain (vilon., vilon), firmament (rakia, rakia), millstones (shehakim., shehakim), abode (zvul., zevul), residence (maon., maon), resting place (machon., machon), clouds (aravot., aravot). In Kabbalah it is explained that the curtain, the lowest firmament, corresponds to the final sefirah, Kingdom, firmament (the second firmament), to Foundation, and millstones (note that millstones always require 2 stones), to Victory and s combined. The name millstones, as explained in the Talmud, alludes to the fact that

    in it, the grindstone stands which grinds manna for the righteous, as it states: "and He commanded the millstones above, and the doors of heaven were opened, and He showered upon them manna to eat (Psalms 78: 23-4)".

    Hence manna, the soul-food sent from heaven, had its source in the spiritual counterparts (Victory and Splendor) of the two components (thylakoid and stroma) which manufacture our own earthly sustenance!



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