Arich Anpin, or Arikh Anpin, which translates to “Long Face/Extended Countenance”, is also popularly known as “The Infinitely Patients One”, and is identified with the sephirah attribute Keter, the Divine will.
Its role in Creation is explained in Zohar’s imagery. It is re-established in 16th century Lurianic doctrine as one of six Primary Partzufim Divine Personae as part of the cosmic process Tikkun Rectification. The Lurianic scheme transforms the linear Medieval–Kabbalistic hierarchy lifeforce in Creation into dynamic processes for inter-inclusion. It is analogous to the enclothement a soul into lower bodies. Partzuf Arich Anpin, in this manner, is said to descend immanently through every level of Creation as their hidden substratum Divine intent, though in a progressively more concealed fashion.
Its inner dimension can be identified as the related but transcendent Partzuf Atik Yomin (“Ancient of Days”) which is synonymous with inner Divine Love, the “Will of Wills/Primary Will”, which is the purest cause of Creation.
Arich Anpin in Keter-Crown
The sefirah of Keter, the above-conscious Divine Crown, develops into two Partzufim (“Configurations”): Arich Anpin (its outer extending Ratzon) and Atik Yomin (Ancient of Days") which are its inner motivating Divine Taanug. The psychological awareness of the Divine Kochos HaNesh (Human Soul Powers), enables us to see Divinity as man “made in the Divine Image”.
Kabbalah explores the role of the sephirots and partzufim when enacting Creation. Arich Anpin encloses the 7 lower emotional sefirot in Atik Yomin, which is God’s essential delight that motivates the Will To Create.
Atik Yomin’s three upper intellectual sefirot transcend Arich Anpin and are the Divine source for Emunah (Faith). They are essential unity with the essence within the soul. The three Reishin (Heads), which are formed from the overlap of the two Partzufim in Keter, make up the three Reishin. The world of Atzilut’s Lurianic Tikun rectification begins with its Keter “Crown”. The crown of a planet is its essential “head”, of which the Zohar analogously says, “When the head/leader is rectified, all the people are rectified.”
Arich Anpin Etymology
Arich Anpin is an Aramaic term derived from the Hebrew phrase Erech Apaim (“slow anger”), which literally means “long nose”, one of the Thirteen Attributes for Mercy listed in Exodus 34.6-7. Arich, which means “long”, refers to the infinite extension of Divine will in Creation. “Long nose” also signifies “long breath” (the opposite to impatient “short breathe”). Arich Anpin refers to the extension of infinite patience, mercy. The 13 principles of Divine mercy are represented in Kabbalah by the 13 parts of Arich Anpin’s Dikna (“Beard”), each one a channel for rectification (Tikunai Dikna). The “hairs of the beard” symbolise Tzimtzum, individual powers to contract Arich Anpin’s infinite light so that lower Creation can receive it, bestowing infinite mercy. The seventh (mid-part), among the thirteen attributes that are mercy, v’emet - “truth” in the Kabbalah listing, is the “cheeks/face of Arich Anpin, which are not covered by the hair; Arich Anpin’s light shining without constriction. In Jewish law as well as Kabbalah, “truth” denotes continuity without being affected or altered by change.
Arich Anpin, the operative Divine will through Creation, acts as the soul that descends within and guides the Divine Intellect. Zeir Anpin, in a parallel, lesser process, acts as the revelation and will of Divine Delight through Da’at, the sephirah “Knowledge”, which is the Lower counterpart to Keter. It then becomes an emotional expression. Through Nukvah (“Feminine”) the Partzuf de Malchut, this becomes the soul in the ultimate realization of creation into action. Daat and Keter are two dimensions of one principle. They are alternately listed among the countings of 10 Sephirot and become Da’at Elyon or Da’at Tachton (Higher concealed Knowledge and Lower revealed Knowledge).