Note: This post might be partially unintelligible without a basic understanding of some of the Ari z'l's teachings
I have a puzzle on my mind. I want to share it with you to see how you resolve it (maybe, share it with Rabbi ... for his pleasure as well).
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan writes in several different places and I also heard it in Rabbi Ashlag's name that the way the notion of "space" work in the spiritual realms is by the principal of similarity and dissimilarity. Two entities are similar, they're close. If they're dissimilar, they're far. Humans tend to use this notion in human relations, probably because relationships are somewhat spiritual. A person can live next door and be "far" from his neighbor. By contrast, another person can live at the other end of the world and be "close".
With this groundwork laid down, let's examine the "empty space" prior to the introduction of the "line of light". It was spherical because there was no up, down, right, left. On any given perimeter, every point along that perimeter was equidistant from the Infinite Light. For example, when the "empty space" expanded out ten times, it left grooves (like the rings of a tree) at each spot that was a previous outer border. Each point along a given groove should receive an equal portion of light from the Infinite Light. It does not matter whether the points are on a 60 degree angle from each other or a 120 degree angle from each other. The determining factor is the distance from the Infinite Light.
Well, if each point on a given groove, before the is introduction of the "line of light", was really receiving an equal portion of light from the Infinite Light, then each point is identical. What defines anything is the amount of light it receives. Beings receiving the exact same amount of light (in quantity and quality) are so similar that there's no distance between them - they're really just one entity. If they're one entity then there's should not be a spherical structure of equidistant points, but rather there should only be one point. So how can there be a sphere with many points, finding themselves equidistant from the Infinite Light and yet, often quite distant from each other?
I'm curious to learn how you (and Rabbi ...) deal with this puzzle. The answer that flowed into my mind contains a beautiful real life lesson of human growth and development - but, I don't want to bias your answer(s) with my own.
Have Fun !
The answer that flowed into my mind:
It seems likely to me that when the "line of light" enters the "empty space", it does not enter from an arbitrary spot. There is probably a designated spot that's most conducive for it's entry. Otherwise, why would the entry point be at that particular spot and no other?
When examining the words of the Ari z'l in "Etz Chaim" we find that the only entity in the entire system defining the main directions, (front / back, right / left, and up / down) is the "line of light" itself. Since this is the only guide post provided, it makes sense that even prior to it's entry the "line of light" is somehow already defining the directions. This means that on some underlying level there's already a sense of direction - although it's not overt.
The substance of "empty space" closer to where the "line of light" is due to eventually enter, must have unique qualities which allow it to accommodate the "line of light" and is perfectly placed to await the "line of light's" entry. Areas designed to have a closeness with the "line of light", but not to experience the full impact of entry, will be a bit further away. Yet, other areas not designed to be very distant from the experience of direct impacted at all, will be at the opposite end of the "empty space". This positioning of the areas of the "empty space" is based on a very "subtle differentiation". On the surface all areas probably look alike. However, their unique potentials to interact with an event that's about to happen is different, but does not yet manifest a difference in their appearance, except in one area - their position. Yet, these differences are "subtle" enough not to undermine the evenly spherical appearance of the structure. Still, this "differentiation" is sufficient to allow spots on the exact same sphere within the "empty space" to lie at distant reaches from each other.
The lesson I take from this is that like a spot in the "empty space" a human often finds himself or herself seemingly voluntarily bringing his or her life into a certain situation. If asked, "Why?" The person probably wouldn't be able to give the real answer because it's a case of, "He doesn't know, but his higher self knows." Even if the person can offer some logical answer, it's only at best a desperate groping on life's surface to make some sense of the his or her behavior. Truthfully, what's motivating the behavior is a soul getting ready for a unique encounter with spiritual light. For the soul to be a receptive vessel for this light, the soul needs to be in the right life situation; in the right spot in the "empty space". A little further away and the light might be too weak. A little closer in and the light might be too strong.
So when we see children gravitating towards certain academic interests &/or skills, it's likely that these preferences are motivated by a soul trying to find her place in the sphere of life where she makes her best contact with the light, even if the light has not yet descended. It's important to allow that process to be and not tell a child, "I don't see the benefit, so please move over to where I'm standing. Hang out under my streetlamp."