Second part. The concept of Zero in ancient traditions and modern translations. Diverted concepts and misleading translations introduced to  hide true meanings. About the knowledge of secrets that should have been shared, since acculturated ignorance within societies serves interests rather than harmony, being based on prejudice and hate. The mystic and philosophical schools of ignorance, that control the cloned matrix and void reality.

Yesterday I expressed the idea of some kind of silent revolution, that took place a long ago, that pushed constantly and inexorably words and concepts, that people in power did not like, out of the way. I must admit that if we have to dace a 7000 thousand years quest, like archeologists do sometimes, Mr. Holmes deductive method is still useful, simple and good enough to start with. I came across the concept of Zero, probably the most important number of all from a metaphysical point of view, and found that its meaning had been diverted, if not totally transformed into its opposite. This was again a dirty job, that did not happen by hazard, and was engineered as we nowadays do with genetic procedures to send elsewhere our attention, comprehension, understanding and awareness. The best place to hide something is in fact under your nose, as you know, and this group, turned the meaning of Zero exactly the opposite way round. Now I am about to continue my explanation on the basis of the sounds that I heard, floating here and there in different languages, that told me much more than what scripts do. Forgive me if I use intuition in a different way and sound a little naïve to your rational logic based on implanted memories, but sounds tell me much more than what books say to convince me, and signs and symbols, aren’t good enough to hide what in fact they would like to say, in a cryptic way. A secret, in fact, is just a secretion, and if you press an orange, you will have an orange juice. If you extract its alcoholic perfumed oils from its peel, you will have essential oils. This is the secret of the word secret. Press, study, transform, evaporate, or do whatever  you like to part its principles, and you will have a list of constituents that explain all its qualities and characteristics.

I said so many things about Zero, moving here and there through time and space, that I forgot to talk about another word that appears to belong to the same family of the “Zavir-savitri-zephyr” ones. The word is SEPHIROTH and ZOHAR,  that sounds indeed as another “Zero” You may laugh now, but still use intuition, and you will start to understand.
What does this word mean according to Jewish tradition?  

Sephira(h) (Hebrew, Chaldean) [from saphar to mark, scrape, write, engrave, count or number; cf Sanskrit verbal root lip as in lipika] plural Sephiroth (qv).
The emanations proceeding from or boundless light.

Sorry, if you read the meaning of this word and it’s compounds, this word means “writing or painting”, but has no affinity with the sound root sephiroth: लिपिक lipika m. clerk edit लिपिकरी lipikarI f. clerk edit लिपिकं दृष्टवान् वा? lipikaM dRSTavAn vA? sent. Have you seen the clerk? edit लिपिका lipikA f. writing edit लिपिका lipikA f. written paper edit लिपिक lipika m. scribe edit लिपिकार lipikAra m. copyist edit लिपिकार lipikAra m. clerk edit लिपिकार lipikAra m. writer edit लिपिकार lipikAra m. scribe edit लिपिकर lipikara m. whitewasher edit लिपिकर lipikara m. engraver edit लिपिकर lipikara m. writer edit लिपिकर lipikara m. plasterer edit लिपिकर lipikara m. scribe edit लिपिकर lipikara m. anointer edit लिपिकर्मन् lipikarman n. painting edit लिपिकर्मन् lipikarman n. drawing edit लेखा-लिपिक lekhA-lipika m. account clerk  [ Com. ] edit पत्र-लिपिक patra-lipika m. correspondence clerk edit मुख्य लिपिक mukhya lipika m. chief clerk edit मुख्य लिपिक mukhya lipika m. head clerk edit लिपिकर्मनिर्मित lipikarmanirmita adj. painted edit विरुजालय-लिपिक virujAlaya-lipika m. clinical clerk

So a sign, a symbol, a number or something that emanates from it proceeding from a boundless light. I guess all this makes sense if we think about the Sun or a star, and probably a mark, to say which one it is, but I’m only playing with intuition, so just enjoy the ride.

Again Sephiroth in English

Sephiroth (Hebrew) plural of Sephirah. Emanations; applicable to the ten powers or potencies which compose the Qabbalistic Tree of Life, named Kether (the Crown); Hochmah (wisdom); Binah (understanding); Hesed (compassion); Geburah (strength); Tiph'ereth (beauty); Netsah (triumph); Hod (majesty); Yesod (foundation); and Malchuth (kingdom). The higher ones of this series of cosmic emanations imbody functions in cosmogony which exactly parallel the functions and attributes of the lipika in theosophical thought.

Ten different Emanations, of the tree of life, Cosmic emanations, parallel to the functions and attributes of the lipika. Wow, this sounds great, and it is much more than Zero, could it be infinite? Or principles so pervasive that they could explain every existent manifestation?
A “Sephiroth” in translation from Hebrew means a circle, volume, a sphere, a sky, space, so finally we have something expressed with the symbol nothing, that is pronounced in the way we spell nothing, and next to it, we find the paradoxical meaning of something that happens to be much more than nothing. Tricky little men, what were you up to when you played this game? It looks like someone has shuffled the deck, and put the cards back in their place. Most will say that this happened because of natural laws that interfere with sounds or signs, to be found within linguistic shift through time, but as this procedure is not only a mere algorithm, fractal equation or harmonic shift that behaves in the same way everywhere, I have the scientific doubt that someone misplaced adequately meanings treating them as significance vectors to force a natural mechanism into an artificial one. I calculated more than 400 thousand symbols, and I can tell you that particles, resonating in a natural environment, follow the laws of harmony, as cymatics could easily prove, and whenever a dissonant shape appears somewhere, or someone puts his fingerprint on a concept or a word without respecting it, its truth will not resonate anymore, and there will be mud on the bell that does not allow it produce sound any more, the kind of amorphous substance that has no internal order, and absorbing the waves from circulating and resonating, will reduce them “to nothing, or let’s say to Zero”. The side effects of linguistic dust and dirt, shift or mutation, do not fit to explain willing manipulations that interfered with the truth, to make it sound as they wanted it to sound like.

It’s so disrespectful and futile to try spoil the perfection of creation , that these ignorant people should be advised to work harder, in the fields of creativity and arts, or any other  kind of study that could help them to practice the good use of the Harmonic principles.

From wiki and other sources: here is a compilation of works that will help you to undestrand such a topic, that could becomes so metaphysical and complex at moments, that it may require some time and patience to understand it.

Seen the quantity of comcepts stressed, related to the Zero concept and the study of Kabbalah, it will be very interesting study how instruments of this kind work at different levels of evolutive conscience.  ( A “No thought state”, “or deep meditation”, or even the activation of intuitive mind, are not easy states of vibration that one can reach without discipline, and the right instruments to climb the mountain, though, that would only be the beginning of the adventure….   ).

Look for Bold and red words to read the key words and passages.

Sephirot or Sephiroth (pronounced /ˈsɛfɪrɒθ/; Hebrew: סְפִירוֹת, pronunciation), meaning "enumerations", are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which God (who is referred to as Ein Sof - The Infinite) reveals itself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms (Seder hishtalshelus). The term is alternatively transliterated into English as Sefirot/Sefiroth, singular Sephirah/Sefirah etc.

Alternative configurations of the sephirot are given by different schools in the historical development of Kabbalah, with each articulating different spiritual aspects. The tradition of enumerating 10 is stated in the Sefer Yetzirah, "Ten sephirot of nothingness, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven". As altogether 11 sephirot are listed across the different schemes, two (Keter and Daat) are seen as unconscious and conscious manifestations of the same principle, conserving the ten categories. In Kabbalah the functional structure of the sephirot in channelling Divine creative life force, and revealing the unknowable Divine essence to Creation is described. As God's attributes to allow Creation to know him, the first sephirah describes the Divine Will above intellect. The next sephirot describe conscious Divine Intellect, and the latter sephirot describe the primary and secondary conscious Divine Emotions. Two sephirot (Binah and Malchut) are feminine, as the female principle in Kabbalah describes a vessel that receives the outward male light, then inwardly nurtures and gives birth to lower sephirot. Corresponding to this is the Female Divine Presence (Shechinah). Kabbalah sees the human soul as mirroring the Divine (after Genesis 1:27, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them"), and more widely, all creations as reflections of their life source in the sephirot. Therefore, the sephirot also describe the spiritual life of man, and constitute the conceptual paradigm in Kabbalah for understanding everything. This relationship between the soul of man and the Divine, gives Kabbalah one of its two central metaphors in describing Divinity, alongside the other Ohr (light) metaphor. However, Kabbalah repeatedly stresses the need to avoid all corporeal interpretation. Through this, the sephirot are related to the structure of the body and are reformed into Partsufim (Personas). Underlying the structural purpose of each sephirah is a hidden motivational force which is understood best by comparison with a corresponding psychological state in human spiritual experience. In Hasidic philosophy, which has sought to internalise the experience of Jewish mysticism into daily inspiration (dveikus), this inner life of the sephirot is explored, and the role they play in man's service of God in this world.

The Sephirot are united in the Divine view. Medieval Kabbalah describes the sin of Adam as introducing false separation between male Divine and female Shechina, by eating from the Tree of Knowledge before the Tree of Life, two aspects of the Sephirot

The "Sefirot" (סְפִירוֹת), singular "Sefirah" (סְפִירָה), literally means "counting"/"enumeration", but early Kabbalists presented a number of other etymological possibilities from the same Hebrew root including: sefer (text), sippur (recounting a story), sappir (sapphire, brilliance, luminary), separ (boundary), and safra (scribe). The term sefirah thus has complex connotations within Kabbalah.

Here we can find a translation of the word that is quite interesting: separ separare separate boundary, that is not exactly a Divine concept, but nevertheless, this dipends on intentions of course.

“I’m stating to believe that the fact that this word is never related to the concept of Zero,  probably means that this vibration falls into an off limits area, where concepts must be diverted or hidden away”.  

The Sephirot are considered revelations of the Creator's Will ("ratzon"),[2] and they should not be understood as ten different "gods" but as ten different ways the one God reveals his Will through the Emanations. While in Cordoveran Kabbalah, Keter (The Divine Will) is listed as the first Sephirah, it is an intermediary above consciousness between God and the other, conscious Sephirot. The Sephirot are emanated from the Divine Will, because Kabbalah sees different levels within Keter, reflecting God's inner Will and outer Will. The innermost, hidden levels of Keter, also in some contexts called "The head/beginning that is not known", are united above the Sephirot with the Ein Sof (Divine essence). It is not God who changes but the ability to perceive God that changes. This difference between the "Ma'Ohr" ("Luminary"-Divine essence) and the "Ohr" ("Light") He emanates is stressed in Kabbalah, so as to avoid heretical notions of any plurality in the Godhead. In its early 12th-century dissemination, Kabbalah received criticism from some Rabbis, who adhered to "Hakirah" (medieval Jewish philosophy), for its alleged introduction of multiplicity into Jewish monotheism. The multiplicity of revealed emanations only applies from the perspective of the Creation, and not from the perspective of the infinite Divine essence.


The ten Sephirot are a step-by-step process illuminating the Divine plan as it unfolds itself in Creation. They are fully found in the Medieval Kabbalah texts, such as the central work in Kabbalah, the Zohar. The Hebrew etymology of their names in Kabbalah is understood to refer to the nuanced aspects of meaning of each Sephirah. This direct connection between spiritual and physical creations and their Hebrew names, reflects the theology in Kabbalah that Creation is formed from the metaphorical speech of God, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Kabbalah expounds on the terms of the Sephirot. In the first complete systemization of Kabbalah, in the 16th-century rational synthesis of Moshe Cordovero (Cordoveran Kabbalah), the Sephirot are listed from highest to lowest:




1 Keter-"Crown"

Conscious intellect

2 Chokhmah-"Wisdom"

3 Binah-"Understanding"

Conscious emotions

(Primary emotions:)

4 Chesed-"Kindness"
(Secondary emotions:)
(Vessel to bring action:)

In the subsequent 16th-century transcendent Kabbalistic scheme of Isaac Luria (Lurianic Kabbalah), the Sephirot are usually listed slightly differently, by taking out Keter and adding in Daat, as Daat is seen as the conscious manifestation of the unconscious Keter. This difference of opinion reflects earlier Medieval debate on whether Keter can be identified with the Ohr Ein Sof (Infinite light) itself, or as the first revealed Sephirah. Isaac Luria includes Keter in the list only in relation to the inner light of the Sephirot. In his usual list of the Sephirot as formed attributes (vessels), Keter is considered too lofty to include.

Read “Inner light of emptiness”, which is in fact dark to your eyes only, because interstellar space is full of light, that illuminates Spheres whenever it reaches them. This is the secret of the invisible light that I was writing about in one of my books.



Conscious intellect

1 Chokhmah-"Wisdom"

2 Binah-"Understanding"

Conscious emotions

(Primary emotions:)

4 Chesed-"Kindness"
(Secondary emotions:)
(Vessel to bring action:)



Interinclusion of the Sephirot

·         The first development that enabled the Sephirot to unite in cooperation was the interinclusion within each of them of a further subset of the 10 Sephirot. So, for example, Chesed contains Chesed within Chesed, Gevurah within Chesed (typified by a restriction performed out of love, like a father punishing a child) etc. In Kabbalistic interpretation, as there are 7 emotional Sephirot, their subsets form 7x7=49 emotional states. This gives the Kabbalistic interpretation of the mitzvah (Jewish observance) of Counting of the Omer, to count the 49 days of personal spiritual development between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot. Passover commemorates the exodus from Egypt, and in Jewish mystical thought, Egypt (in Hebrew "Mitzrayim", meaning "Limitations") represents the challenges to leave behind in spiritual development. In Kabbalah and Hasidism, leaving Egypt becomes a daily spiritual exodus, especially in the 49 days of preparation to reach Shavuot, commemorating receiving the Torah on Biblical Mount Sinai. Kabbalah teaches the benefit of focusing on the aspect of each Sephirah related to the particular day of the Omer. A person would examine each of their spiritual qualities, as a rectification process of Teshuva (Return to God)), in preparation to reliving the acceptance of the Torah.

Two configurations of the Sephirot: Iggulim-Circles and Yosher-Upright

Two alternative spiritual arrangements for describing the Sephirot are given, metaphorically described as "Circles" and "Upright". Their origins come from Medieval Kabbalah and the Zohar. In later, 16th-century Lurianic kabbalah, they become systemized as two successive stages in the evolution of the Sephirot, during the primordial cosmic evolution of Creation. This evolution is central to the metaphysical process of tikkun (fixing) in the doctrines of Isaac Luria.

 Upright circular movement, orbital movements act everywhere constantly, in fact. Zero = O = Circle.….is the basis of virutes, vice and rituals, repetition, reiteration, hypnosys and desire, pleasure, circadians, food and sex are part of it together with every possible cycle, that could be rapresented with a little long chain…°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°


Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds, with the 10 Sephirot radiating in each, as successively smaller Iggulim-concentric circles

One diagrammatic representation depicts the Sephirot metaphorically as successively smaller concentric circles, radiating inwards from the surrounding Divine Omnipresence. The Four Worlds of the Seder hishtalshelus ("Chain of Progression"), or with the addition of the highest Fifth World (Adam Kadmon), can be depicted in this diagram, starting with the highest and proceeding towards the centre of the circle to our lowest, physical realm. In each World the 10 Sephirot radiate, as 10 successive steps in the downward chain of flow towards the next, lower realm. This depiction shows the successive nature of each of the 10 Sephirot, as a downward chain, each more removed from Divine consciousness.

The surrounding space in the diagram is the Infinite Divine reality (Ein Sof). The outermost circle in the teachings of Lurianic kabbalah is the "space" made by the Tzimtzum in which Creation unfolds. Each successive World is progressively further removed from Divine revelation, a metaphorically smaller, more constricted circle. Emanation in each World proceeds down the 10 Sephirot, with the last Sephirah (Malchut-Actualisation of the Divine plan) of one World becoming, and being shared as, the first Sephirah (Keter-The Divine Will) of the next, lower realm. The vertical line into the centre of the circle represents the path of downward emanation and constriction, from the initial first Ohr (light) of the "Kav" (Ray) in Lurianic doctrine.

Look for the Sanskrit word for “ray of light”, and you will find the answer and the origin of this example and way of thinking. Here, take it सावित्री sAvitrI f. ray of light though there are many more.
 ( Compare the sound of the first one I gave you with safir/zephyr/savitr ). These are the others just in case:
भानु bhAnu m. light or a ray of light edit मयूख mayUkha m. ray of light edit गभस्ति gabhasti m. ray of light edit अंशु aMzu m. ray of light edit स्यूना syUnA f. ray of light edit छवि chavi f. ray of light edit शुचि zuci m. ray of light edit शिखा zikhA f. ray of light edit उस्र usra m. ray of light edit उपनिधि upanidhi m. ray of light edit स्योन syona m. ray of light edit प्रग्रह pragraha m. ray of light edit अश्मयु azmayu m. ray of light edit तरणि taraNi m. ray of light edit ह्रद hrada m. ray of light edit द्युत् dyut f. ray of light edit प्रद्योत pradyota m. ray of light edit कर kara m. ray of light edit मरीचि marIci m. ray of light edit शिपि zipi m. ray of light  वन vana n. ray of light edit सावित्री sAvitrI f. ray of light edit स्यूम syUma m. ray of light edit घृणि ghRNi m. ray of light edit ऋषि RSi m. ray of light edit अर्चिस् arcis n. ray of light edit अभीशु abhIzu m. ray of light edit रशना razanA f. ray of light edit वृष्णि vRSNi m. ray of light edit पृष्णि pRSNi f. ray of light edit विरोक viroka m. ray of light edit धृष्णि dhRSNi m. ray of light edit पृष्टि pRSTi f. ray of light edit रश्मि razmi m. ray of light edit वसु vasu adj. ray of light edit स्यून syUna m. ray of light edit अभीषु abhISu m. ray of light edit उपधृति upadhRti f. ray of light edit रक्तांशुक raktAMzuka m. red ray of light edit पाद pAda m. ray or beam of light किरण kiraNa m. ray or beam of light edit अग्रांशु agrAMzu m. end of a ray of light edit वसु vasu adj. particular ray of light edit अमृत amRta n. ray of light, name of a metre edit प्रभाप्ररोह prabhApraroha m. shoot i.e. flash or ray of light edit संध्यांशु saMdhyAMzu m. twilight-ray edit मरीचिप marIcipa m. rays of light edit अभीषुमत् abhISumat adj. having rays of light edit भानिकर bhAnikara m. mass of light or rays edit सप्तदीधिति saptadIdhiti m. having 7 rays of light edit गोगण gogaNa m. multitude of rays of light edit सप्तांशुपुंगव saptAMzupuMgava m. eminent with 7 rays of light edit उद्रश्मि udrazmi adj. sending rays of light upwards edit शतह्रदा zatahradA f. containing a hundred rays of light edit विलसत्मरीचि vilasatmarIci adj. having rays of light gleaming or playing   see how deep is Sanskrit compared to our languages?


The Yosher-Upright configuration of the 10 Sephirot, arranged into 3 columns

The most important and well known scheme of depicting the Sephirot arranges them as a tree with 3 columns. The Right column represents the spiritual force of expansion. The Left represents its opposite, restriction. The Middle column is the balance and synthesis between these opposing tendencies. The connecting lines in the diagram show the specific connections of spiritual flow between the Sephirot, the "22 Connecting Paths", and correspond to the spiritual channels of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Kabbalah sees the Hebrew letters as channels of spiritual life force. This derives from the account in Genesis of the Creation of the World, where Creation takes place through 10 Hebrew "Sayings" of God ("Let there be.."). In Kabbalistic theology, these letters remain the immanent spiritual forces that constantly recreate all existence. The paths divide into 3 Categories, shown in this diagram by their different colours, corresponding to the 3 types of letter.

  The Man-metaphor in Kabbalah

Anthropomorphism in Kabbalah

Kabbalah relates the Sephirot and Indwelling Shechinah Presence to Male-Female Divine principles, represented in the union of Jewish marriage Below. In Medieval Kabbalah the task of man is Yichud-"Union" of Male and Female Divinity on High. In Lurianism man redeems exiled Sparks of Holiness of the Shechinah from material Kelipot

Kabbalah, the central system in Jewish mysticism, uses subtle anthropomorphic analogies and metaphors to describe God in Judaism, both the God-world relationship, and the inner nature of the Divine. These include the metaphor of the soul-body relationship, the functions of man's soul-powers, the configuration of man's bodily form, and male-female influences in the Divine. Kabbalists repeatedly warn and stress the need to divorce their notions from any corporality, dualism, plurality, or spatial and temporal connotations. As "the Torah speaks in the language of Man", the empirical terms are necessarily imposed upon man's experience in this world. Once the analogy is described, its limitations are then related to, stripping the kernel of its husk, to arrive at a truer conception. Nonetheless, Kabbalists carefully chose their terminology to denote subtle connotations and profound relationships in the Divine spiritual influences. More accurately, as they see the emanation of the Material world from the Spiritual realms, the analogous anthropomorphisms and material metaphors themselves derive through cause and effect from their precise root analogies on High.

Describing the material world Below in general, and man in particular, as created in the "image" of the world Above is not restricted in Rabbinic Judaism to Kabbalah, but abounds more widely in Biblical, Midrashic, Talmudic and philosophical literature.[8] Kabbalah extends the Man-metaphor more radically to anthropomorphise particular Divine manifestations on high, while repeatedly stressing the need to divest analogies from impure materialistic corporality. Classical "proof texts" on which it bases its approach include, "From my flesh I envisage God",[9] and the Rabbinic analogy " As the soul permeates the whole body...sees but is not seen...sustains the whole pure...abides in the innermost unique in the body...does not eat and man knows where its place the Holy One, Blessed is He..." Together with the metaphor of Light, the Man-metaphor is central in Kabbalah. Nonetheless, it too has its limitations, needs qualification, and breaks down if taken as a literal, corporeal comparison. Its limitations include the affect of the body on the soul, while the World affects no change in God; and the distinct, separate origins of the soul and the body, while in relation to God's Omnipresence, especially in its Acosmic Hasidic development, all Creation is nullified in its source.

Soul faculties and Male-Female principles

The Yosher-Upright configuration of the Sephirot arranges the 10 Sephirot into a Partzuf interrelationship, where each Sephirah relates and mediates the influence of the others. This metaphor for Divine interrelationships on High is arranged in the schematic relationship of man's soul, because alone amongst all Creation, Adam-Man is held to encapsulate all harmonised forces, while animals and angels embody only singular instinctive drives. The significance of this, as well as the full meaning of the Partzufim reconfiguration of the Sephirot, emerges only in 16th century Lurianic Kabbalah, where the Yosher-Upright arrangement, the Partzufim and the souls of Israel represent the secondary World of Tikun-Rectification, while angels, animals and the root origins above of the Nations of the World embody the primordial World of Tohu-Chaos. Lurianic Kabbalah applies the verse, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them"[11] to this reconfigured Tikun-Yosher arrangement. In the Yosher scheme, Divine principles are described through the soul faculties of Man, with Binah-Understanding and Malkuth-Kingship-Shechinah-Indwelling Divine Presence, encapsulating the Divine Feminine in Creation, the principle of receiving, nurturing and pregnant internalisation.

In Medieval Kabbalah, the task of man is the Yichud-Union on High of the Male-Female principles of Divinity, healing the apparent separation and concealment of the Shechinah Female indwelling Divine presence that sustains this world from the "Holy One Blessed Be He", the transcendent Divine on High. Separation and interruption of the Shefa-Flow of Divine vitality into this World is caused by man's sins. Unification and revelation is opened by man's benevolence, so that in Kabbalah man encpsulates the whole spiritual cosmos and upholds the Heavens. The 16th century Sefad Kabbalistic Rennaisance ennacted the prayer before performing Mitzvot Jewish observances, uniting Tiferet-Beauty, central principle in the male emotions (Zeir Anpin) with Malkuth-Kingship, the feminine Shechinah: Together, the four letters of the Tetragrammaton essential Divine name encapsulate the sephirot on High.

Configuration of the body

Despite the particular geometric depiction of the Yosher scheme, through each soul faculty in the body, man's physical organs also reflect the supernal Divine forces on High, as the scheme of Yosher underscores the inter-relationship of the Sephirot as a unit or body. In this context, the physical upright standing of man contrasts with the horizontal forms of animals. The correspondence of the Sephirot with the physical organs of man:




Encompassing crown
Da'at elyon


Right brain


Left brain


Central brain
Da'at tachton


Right arm
10 fingers included


Left arm
10 fingers included


Front Pnimiut-Internality


Right leg
10 toes included
Right kidney


Left leg
10 toes included
Left kidney


Sexual organ
Holy covenant
Male and female



Lurianic Shevirah-Shattering and Tikun-Rectification

Sefer Hakavanot from "Kisvei HaAri", disciples of the 16th century Lurianic Kabbalah. It moved the origin of perceived exile in the Sephirot to Primordial Creation, before the influence of Man on supernal harmony, as in Medieval Kabbalah

Isaac Luria reinterpreted and recast the whole scheme of Kabbalah in the 16th century, essentially making the second of two different versions of the Kabbalah: the Medieval (the initial, direct understandings of the Zohar, later synthesised by Moshe Cordovero) and the Lurianic. However, he understood his new doctrine as no more than a new revelation-teaching of the true meaning of the Zohar. Lurianic Kabbalah became the dominant Kabbalistic system, displacing Cordovero's, and afterwards the Zohar was read in its light. Lurianic Kabbalists sought to integrate this with the Cordoverian scheme, seeing both as true, but describing different aspects ("Worlds") of the Divine process.

Medieval Kabbalah depicts a linear descending hierachy of Divine vitality, the sephirot emerging from the Ein Sof to enact Creation. Lurianic Kabbalah describes enclothing processes of exile and redemption in the Divine flow, where higher levels descend into lower states, as souls to spiritual bodies. The first emanation in Creation leads to spiritual shattering of Divinity in a definitive "catastrophe" (Shevirat HaKeilim-"The Shattering of the Vessels"), and the exile of its "sparks" into the descending created realms. Cordovero had reconciled previous opinions of the Sephirot by describing each as Divine Ohrot ("lights") invested in 10 spiritual Keilim ("vessels"), adapted by Luria to his scheme. In Lurianic Kabbalah, the first vessels of the Sephirot shatter due to the sublime intensity of the light. Because each of the Sephirot act as independent forces, Isaac Luria's attribution of the Iggulim (independent "Circles" arrangement of the Sephirot) without cooperation, their immature vessels are weak. From the destruction of this primordial realm, the World of Tohu ("Chaos"), is built the subsequent World of Tikun ("Rectification"), characterised by lower lights and stronger vessels. The sublime lights of Tohu withdraw into the Ein Sof, while their Sephirot vessels shatter down Creation. Sparks of the original high lights remain attached in exile to the descending fragments, and the Messianic task is the redemption of all the holy sparks of Tohu. In the World of Tikun in contrast, the Sephirot vessels are mature, stronger and act together in harmony. To this reformed state, Isaac Luria attributed the former Kabbalistic concepts of Yosher (harmonised "Upright" arrangement of the sephirot), and the many Zoharic passages expounding the Partzufim (Divine "Personas/Configurations"-particular Divine manifestations). This systemised the classic concept of the Partzufim as the secondary, evolved arrangements of the Sephirot in Creation.

Isaac Luria related the transition from Tohu to Tikun to Genesis 1:1-3:

"In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth", the initial source in potential, from which all would unfold. "And the earth was Chaos (Tohu) and Void (Vohu), with darkness over the surface of the deep...", each sephirah acts independently causing the shattering (Shevirat HaKeilim). "...And God said let there be Light", the ability of the harmonised Sephirot of Tikun to reveal Divinity and ennact stable Creation.

The Lurianic doctrine of the shattering of the emotional sephirot vessels describes the esoteric meaning of Genesis 36:31 and I Chronicles 1:43:

"These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before there reigned any king over the children of Israel..."

Edom is described in Genesis as the descendents of Esau. In the Kabbalistic scheme, this is identified with unrectified Gevurah-Severity, the source of the vessels of the World of Tohu-Chaos. The eight kings listed who reigned in Edom before any king of Israel, embodied the eight sephirot of Daat to Malchut in the World of Tohu, the vessels that shattered. Of each it says they lived and died, death connoting the soul-light of the sephirot ascending back to its source, while the body-vessel descends-shatters. Attached to the broken vessels are the holy residues of the former light as Nitzot-"Sparks" of holiness, sustaining Creation by the Divine flow of Will. The sparks are the creative force of the Sephirot down the Four Worlds. The unabsorbed residue of the broken vessels in our physical, lowest World Assiah becomes the realm of Kelipot impurity. Genesis 1:2, "...And the Spirit of God hovered over the waters." Merachepet-"hovered" splits into the number "288 died", the root number of Divine sparks that then subdivide into innumerable fragments.

Partzufim-reconfigured sephirot

The four realms of our created existence are together called the World of Tikkun ("Fixing"). In Tikkun, the Sephirot evolve into new arrangements, where they can unite together. The different realms Tikkun are characterised as lower lights and stronger vessels.

Subsequent to the interinclusion of the 10 Sephirot within each other, in Lurianic Kabbalah they then develop into "Partsufim" ("Personas"). Wide discussion of the Partsufim is found in the Medieval Kabbalah of the Zohar, before Isaac Luria. In the Zohar, Shimon bar Yochai expounds upon the spiritual roles of the Parsufim, by talking about them as independent spiritual manifestations. "The Holy Ancient of Days", or "The Long Visage", two of the different Parsufim, are not just alternative adjectives for God, but are particular spiritual manifestations, levels and natures. Lurianic Kabbalah focused on the role of the Parsufim as the fully evolved stage of the primordial evolution of the Sephirot, in the beginning of Creation. Instead of each of the 10 Sephirot merely including a full subset of 10 Sephirot as latent potential forces, the first stage of their evolution, in the Parsufim the Sephirot become fully autonomous and interrelated. The name of each Partsuf denotes that the Sephirah from which it derived, has now become an independent scheme of 10 fully functioning Sephirot in the "Upright" (Yosher) form of "Man". This reconfiguration is essential in Lurianic Kabbalah to enable the opposing spiritual forces of the Sephirot to work together in harmony. Each Parsuf now operates independently, and unites with the other Parsufim. So, for example, "The Long Visage" is said to descend, and become enclothed within the lower Parsufim. The Sephirot now harmonise, to enable the Lurianic scheme of Tikkun (Rectification) to begin. The names of the fundamental Partsufim and their English translations:

Original Sephirah before evolution

Developed full "Persona" form

Above conscious Crown:

Inner Keter: Atik Yomin
"Ancient of Days"

Outer Keter:
Arich Anpin
"Long Face/Visage"

Intellectual Wisdom:


Intellectual Understanding:


6 Emotional Sephirot:

Zeir Anpin
"Small Face/Visage"
Male son

Last Emotional Sephirah:

Counterpart of Zeir Anpin
Feminine daughter

Inner dimensions of the Sephirot and the Powers of the Soul

As all levels of Creation are constructed around the 10 Sephirot, their names in Kabbalah describe the particular role each plays in forming reality. These are the external dimensions of the Sephirot, describing their functional roles in channelling the Divine, creative Ohr (Light) to all levels. As the Sephirot are viewed to comprise both metaphorical "lights" and "vessels", their structural role describes the particular identity each Sephirah possesses from its characteristic vessel. Underlying this functional structure of the Sephirot, each one possesses a hidden, inner spiritual motivation that inspires its activity. This forms the particular characteristic of inner light within each Sephirah.

Understanding the Sephirot throughout Jewish mysticism is achieved by their correspondence to the soul of man. This applies to the outer, Kabbalistic structure of the Sephirot. It applies even more to their inner dimensions, which correspond to inner psychological qualities in the perception of man. Identifying the essential spiritual properties of the soul gives the best insight into their Divine source, and in the process reveals the spiritual beauty of the soul. In Hasidic thought these inner dimensions of the Sephirot are called the Kochos HaNefesh-"Powers of the Soul". Hasidism sought the internalisation of the abstract ideas of Kabbalah, both outwardly in joyful sincerity of dveikus in daily life, acts of loving-kindness and prayer; and inwardly in its profound new articulation of Jewish mystical thought, by relating it to the inner life of man.[12] Articulation of the Sephirot in Hasidic philosophy is primarily concerned with their inner dimensions, and exploring the direct, enlivening contribution of each in man's spiritual worship of God.[13] Kabbalah focuses on the esoteric manifestations of God in Creation, the vessels of Divinity. Hasidut looks at the lights that fill these vessels, how the structures reveal the Divine essence, and how this inwardness can be perceived. This difference can be seen in the names of these two stages of Jewish mysticism. "Kabbalah" in Hebrew is derived from "kabal" (to "receive" as a vessel). "Hasidut" is from "chesed" ("lovingkindness"), considered the first and greatest Sephirah, also called "Greatness", the wish to reveal and share. The names of the Sephirot come from Kabbalah, and describe the Divine effect that each has upon Creation, but not their inner qualities. Hasidic thought uses new descriptive terms for the inner dimensions of the Sephirot:

Outer function in Divinity and soul

Inner experience:
Inner Divine motivation and human soul response

Above conscious:

Essence of Keter:
(expresses essence of soul in Infinite)

Inner Keter:
Taanug-unconscious source of "Delight"
(soul rooted in delight)

Outer Keter:
Ratzon-unconscious transcendent "Will"
(soul expresses through will)

First revelation of intellect:
Chochma-Insight of Wisdom

(Revelation inspires self nullification)

Grasped Intellect:

(Understanding awakens joy)

Assimilated Intellect:

(Union with idea awakens emotions)

Primary emotion of giving:

Ahavah-"Love" of God and Divine in all things
(Response of Divine giving)

Primary emotion of restriction:

Yirah-"Fear" of God
(Mystical awe of Divinity)

Primary emotion of balance:
Tiferet-Beautiful harmony

(Balances kindness with restriction)

Secondary emotion of giving:

(Confidence inspires determination)

Secondary emotion of restriction:

(Sincere response to Divine Glory)

Secondary emotion of balance:

(Drive to verify connection in task)

Emotional vessel for action:

(Action through receiving higher Sephirot lights)

The Sephirot and the Four Worlds

Four Worlds

These ten levels are associated with Kabbalah's (Zohar) four different "Worlds" or planes of existence, the main part from our perspective of the descending "chain of progression" (Seder hishtalshelus), that links the Infinite Divine Ein Sof with our finite, physical realm. In all Worlds, the 10 Sephirot radiate, and are the Divine channels through which every level is continuously created from nothing. Since they are the attributes through which the unknowable, infinite Divine essence becomes revealed to the creations, all ten emanate in each World. Nonetheless, the structure of the Four Worlds arises because in each one, certain Sephirot predominate. Each World is spiritual, apart from the lower aspect of the final World, which is our "Asiyah Gashmi" ("Physical Asiyah"), our physical Universe. Each World is progressively grosser and further removed from consciousness of the Divine, until in our World it is possible to deny God. In descending order:

  1. Atzilut (אֲצִילוּת)-World of "Emanation": In this level the light of the Ein Sof radiates and is united with its source. Divine Chochma, the limitless flash of wisdom beyond grasp, predominates.
  2. Beriah (בְּרִיאָה or alternatively[16] בְּרִיָּה)-World of "Creation": In this level, is the first creation ex nihilo, where the souls and angels have self awareness, but without form. Divine Binah, the intellectual understanding, predominates.
  3. Yetzirah (יְצִירָה)-World of "Formation": On this level, creation is related to form. The Divine emotional Sephirot of Chesed to Yesod predominate.
  4. Asiyah (עֲשִׂיָּה)-World of "Action": On this level creation is relegated to its physical aspect, the only physical realm and the lowest World, our realm with all its creatures. The Divine Kingship of Malchut predominates, the purpose of Creation.

In the Zohar and elsewhere, there are these four Worlds or planes of existence. In the Lurianic system of Kabbalah, five Worlds are counted, comprising these and a higher, fifth plane, Adam Kadmon-manifest Godhead level, that mediates between the Ein Sof and the four lower Worlds.

As the four Worlds link the Infinite with our realm, they also enable the soul to ascend in devotion or mystical states, towards the Divine. Each World can be understood as descriptive of dimensional levels of intentionality related to man's natural "desire to receive", and a method for the soul's progress upward toward unity with or return to the Creator. (The terminology of this formulation is based on the exposition of Lurianic Kabbalah by the 20th Century Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag).

Scriptural, Numerological and Spiritual associations of the Sephirotic Tree
The 10 Sephirot, arranged into the 3 columns, with the 22 Paths of Connection of three types

Associations of the 3 columns
The Sephiroth are organized into three discrete columns or gimel kavim ("three lines" in Hebrew). They are often referred to as the three "Fathers," are derived from the three "Mothers," and are attributed to the vowels (Vav, Yud, and Heh.) They are as follows:

Kether heads the central column of the tree, which is known metaphorically speaking as the "Pillar of Mildness" and is associated with Hebrew letter Aleph, "the breath", and the air element. It is a neutral one, a balance between the two opposing forces of male and female tendencies. Some teachings describe the Sephirot on the centre pillar as gender-neutral, while others say that the Sephirot vary in their sexual attributions.

Chokhmah heads the right column of the tree, metaphorically speaking the "Pillar of Mercy", associated with the Hebrew letter Shin, the fire element, and the male aspect;

The left column is headed by Binah and is called the "Pillar of Severity." It is associated with Hebrew letter Mem, the water element and the female aspect.

While the pillars are each given a sexual attribution, this does not mean that every sephirah on a given pillar has the same sexual attribution as the pillar on which they sit. In Jewish Kabbalah, of all the Sephirot only Binah and Malkuth are considered female, while all the other Sephirot are male.

Additionally (and this applies to both Jewish and Hermetic Kabbalah), each sephirah is seen as male in relation to the following sephirah in succession on the tree, and female in relation to the foregoing sephirah.

Alternative traditions consider the grammatical genders of the words involved. Thus, Gevurah is feminine because it has an atonal finial Heh. Thus, Severity or Justice becomes a feminine attribute while Chesed (Mercy or Lovingkindness) becomes a masculine one, despite the modern Western tendency to genderize these terms in reverse manner.

Numerological meanings

In a numerological sense, the Tree of Sephirot also has significance. Between the 10 Sephirot run 22 channels or paths which connect them, a number which can be associated with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Together the spiritual forces of the 10 Sephirot and the 22 connecting channels are called the "32 Paths of Wisdom".

To envision the tree, consider each of these ten spheres as being concentric circles with Malkuth being the innermost and all others encompassed by the latter. None of these are separate from the other, and all simply help to form a more complete view of the perfected whole. To speak simply, Malkuth is the Kingdom which is the physical world upon which we live and exist, while Kether, also call Kaether and Kaether Elyon is the Crown of this universe, representing the highest attainable understanding of God that men can understand.

Rabbinic significance

As to the actual significance of the numbers 10 and 22 in context of Judaism goes into Kabbalistic interpretation of Genesis. God is said to have created the world through Ten Utterances, marked by the number of times Genesis states, “And God said.”

As for the 22 letter-paths, there must first be an explanation of the three different types of letters in Hebrew. See “Bahir Tree” of “Kircher Tree” image for reference.

Each letter grouping has significance in Genesis 1:

Other sources:

The Tree of the Sephiroth

THE Tree of the Sephiroth may be considered an invaluable compendium of the secret philosophy which originally was the spirit and soul of Chasidism. The Qabbalah is the priceless heritage of Israel, but each year those who comprehend its true principles become fewer in number. The Jew of today, if he lacks a realization of the profundity of his people's doctrines, is usually permeated with that most dangerous form of ignorance, modernism, and is prone to regard the Qabbalah either as an evil to be shunned like the plague or as a ridiculous superstition which has survived the black magic of the Dark Ages. Yet without the key which the Qabbalah supplies, the spiritual mysteries of both the Old and the New Testament must remain unsolved by Jew and Gentile alike.

The Sephirothic Tree consists of ten globes of luminous splendor arranged in three vertical columns and connected by 22 channels or paths. The ten globes are called the Sephiroth and to them are assigned the numbers i to 10. The three columns are called Mercy (on the right), Severity (on the left), and, between them, Mildness, as the reconciling power. The columns may also be said to represent Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, which form the triune support of the universe, for it is written that the foundation of all things is the Three. The 22 channels are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and to them are assigned the major trumps of the Tarot deck of symbolic cards.

Eliphas Levi declared that by arranging the Tarot cards according to a definite order man could discover all that is knowable concerning his God, his universe, and himself. When the ten numbers which pertain to the globes (Sephiroth) are combined with the 22 letters relating to the channels, the resultant sum is 32--the number peculiar to the Qabbalistic Paths of Wisdom. These Paths, occasionally referred to as the 32 teeth in the mouth of the Vast Countenance or as the 32 nerves that branch out from the Divine Brain, are analogous to the first 32 degrees of Freemasonry, which elevate the candidate to the dignity of a Prince of the Royal Secret. Qabbalists also consider it extremely significant that in the original Hebrew Scriptures the name of God should occur 32 times in the first chapter of Genesis. (In the English translations of the Bible the name appears 33 times.) In the mystic analysis of the human body, according to the Rabbins, 32 spinal segments lead upward to the Temple of Wisdom--the skull.

The four Qabbalistic Trees described in the preceding chapter were combined by later Jewish scholars into one all-inclusive diagram and termed by them not only the Sephirothic but also the Archetypal, or Heavenly, Adam. According to some authorities, it is this Heavenly Adam, and not a terrestrial man, whose creation is described in the opening chapters of Genesis. Out of the substances of this divine man the universe was formed; in him it remains and will continue even after dissolution shall resolve the spheres back into their own primitive substance. The Deity is never conceived of as actually contained in the Sephiroth, which are purely hypothetical vessels employed to define the limits of the Creative Essence. Adolph Franck rather likens the Sephiroth to varicolored transparent glass bowls filled with pure light, which apparently assumes the color of its containers but whose essential nature remains ever unchanged and unchangeable.

The ten Sephiroth composing the body of the prototypic Adam, the numbers related to them, and the parts of the universe to which they correspond are as follows:







Kether--the Crown

Primum Mobile

The Fiery Heavens



The Zodiac

The First Motion




The Zodiac






















Jesod--the Foundation




Malchuth--the Kingdom



It must continually be emphasized that the Sephiroth and the properties assigned to them, like the tetractys of the Pythagoreans, are merely symbols of the cosmic system with its multitude of parts. The truer and fuller meaning of these emblems may not be revealed by writing or by word of mouth, but must be divined as the result of study and meditation. In the Sepher ha Zohar it is written that there is a garment--the written doctrine-which every man may see. Those with understanding do not look upon the garment but at the body beneath it--the intellectual and philosophical code. The wisest of all, however, the servants of the Heavenly King, look at nothing save the soul--the spiritual doctrine--which is the eternal and ever-springing root of the law. Of this great truth Eliphas Levi also writes declaring that none can gain entrance to the secret House of Wisdom unless he wear the voluminous cape of Apollonius of Tyana and carry in his hand the lamp of Hermes. The cape signifies the qualities of self-possession and self-reliance which must envelope the seeker as a cloak of strength, while the ever-burning lamp of the sage represents the illumined mind and perfectly balanced intellect without which the mystery of the ages can never be solved.

The Sephirothic Tree is sometimes depicted as a human body, thus more definitely establishing the true identity of the first, or Heavenly, Man--Adam Kadmon--the Idea of the Universe. The ten divine globes (Sephiroth) are then considered as analogous to the ten sacred members and organs of the Protogonos, according to the following arrangement. Kether is the crown of the Prototypic Head and perhaps refers to the pineal gland; Chochmah and Binah are the right and left hemispheres respectively of the Great Brain; Chesed and Geburah (Pechad) are the right and left arms respectively, signifying the active creative members of the Grand Man; Tiphereth is the heart, or, according to some, the entire viscera; Netsah and Hod are the right and left legs respectively, or the supports of the world; Jesod is the generative system, or the foundation of form; and Malchuth represents the two feet, or the base of being. Occasionally Jesod is considered as the male and Malchuth as the female generative power. The Grand Man thus conceived is the gigantic image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, with head of gold, arms and chest of silver, body of brass, legs of iron, and feet of clay. The mediæval Qabbalists also assigned one of the Ten Commandments and a tenth part of the Lord's Prayer in sequential order to each of the ten Sephiroth.


The forty concentric circles shown in the large circular cut are here arranged as four trees, each consisting of ten circles. These trees disclose the organization of the hierarchies controlling the destinies of all creation. The trees are the same in each of the four world but the powers vested in the globes express themselves differently through the substances of each world, resulting in endless differentiation.

we find Sephira [Kether], the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hachama [Chochmah], or Wisdom, a masculine and active potency--also called Jah, יה--and Binah, בינה, or Intelligence, a female and passive potency, also represented by the name Jehovah יהוה. These three form the first trinity or 'face' of the Sephiroth. This triad emanated Hesed, הסד, or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El, from which emanated Geburah גבורה, or justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from the union of these two was produced Tiphereth טפּארת, Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim; and the second triad, 'face,' or 'head,' was formed. These emanating, in their turn, the masculine potency Netzah, נצה, Firmness, or Jehovah Sabaoth, who issued the feminine passive potency Hod,הוד, Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth; the two produced Jesod, יסוד, Foundation, who is the mighty living one El-Chai, thus yielding the third trinity or 'head.' The tenth Sephiroth is rather a duad, and is represented on the diagrams as the lowest circle. It is Malchuth or Kingdom, מלכות, and Shekinah, שכינה, also called Adonai, and Cherubim among the angelic hosts. The first 'Head' is called the Intellectual world; the second 'Head' is the Sensuous, or the world of Perception, and the third is the material or Physical world." (See Isis Unveiled.)

Among the later Qabbalists there is also a division of the Sephirothic Tree into five parts, in which the distribution of the globes is according to the following order:

(1) Macroprosophus, or the Great Face, is the term applied to Kether as the first and most exalted of the Sephiroth and includes the nine potencies or Sephiroth issuing from Kether.

(2) Abba, the Great Father, is the term generally applied to Chochmah--Universal Wisdom--the first emanation of Kether, but, according to Ibn Gebirol, Chochmah represents the Son, the Logos or the Word born from the union of Kether and Binah.

(3) Aima, the Great Mother, is the name by which Binah, or the third Sephira, is generally known. This is the Holy Ghost, from whose body the generations issue forth. Being the third person of the Creative Triad, it corresponds to Jehovah, the Demiurgus.

(4) Microprosophus, or the Lesser Face, is composed of the six Sephiroth--Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netsah, Hod, and Jesod. The Microprosophus is commonly called the Lesser Adam, or Zauir Anpin, whereas the Macroprosophus, or Superior Adam, is Arikh Anpin. The Lesser Face is properly symbolized by the six-pointed star or interlaced triangles of Zion and also by the six faces of the cube. It represents the directions north, east, south, west, up, and down, and also the first six days of Creation. In his list of the parts of the Microprosophus, MacGregor-Mathers includes Binah as the first and superior part of the Lesser Adam, thus making his constitution septenary. If Microprosophus be considered as sexpartite, then his globes (Sephiroth) are analogous to the six days of Creation, and the tenth globe, Malchuth, to the Sabbath of rest.

(5) The Bride of Microprosophus is Malchuth--the epitome of the Sephiroth, its quaternary constitution being composed of blendings of the four elements. This is the divine Eve that is taken out

Having demonstrated that the Qabbalists divided the universe into four worlds, each consisting of ten spheres, it is necessary to consider next how the ten spheres of each world were arranged into what is called the ''Sephirothic Tree." This Tree is composed of ten circles, representing the numbers 1 to 20 and connected together by twenty-two canals--the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The ten numbers plus the twenty-two letters result in the occult number 32, which, according to the Mishna, signifies the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom. Letters and numbers, according to the Qabbalists, are the keys to all knowledge, for by a secret system of arranging them the mysteries of creation are revealed. For this reason they are called "the Paths of Wisdom." This occult fact is carefully concealed in the 32nd degree of Freemasonry.

There are four trees, one in each of the four worlds established in the preceding chapter. The first is in the Atziluthic World, the ten circles being the ten globes of light established in the midst of AIN SOPH. The powers and attributes of this Tree are reflected into each of the three lower worlds, the form of the Tree remaining the same but its power diminishing as it descends. To further complicate their doctrine, the Qabbalists created another tree, which was a composite of all four of the world trees but consisted of only ten globes. In this single tree were condensed all the arcana previously scattered through the voluminous archives of Qabbalistic literature.

of the side of Microprosophus and combines the potencies of the entire Qabbalistic Tree in one sphere, which may be termed man.According to the mysteries of the Sephiroth, the order of the Creation, or the Divine Lightning Flash which zigzags through the four worlds according to the order of the divine emanations, is thus described: From AIN SOPH, the Nothing and All, the Eternal and Unconditioned Potency, issues Macroprosophus, the Long Face, of whom it is written, "Within His skull exist daily thirteen thousand myriads of worlds which draw their existence from Him and by Him are upheld." (See The Greater Holy Assembly.) Macroprosophus, the directionalized will of AIN SOPH, corresponding to Kether, the Crown of the Sephiroth, gives birth out of Himself to the nine lesser spheres of which He is the sum and the overbrooding cause. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, by the various combinations of which the laws of the universe are established, constitute the scepter of Macroprosophus which He wields from His flaming throne in the Atziluthic World.

From this eternal and ancient androgyne--Kether--come forth Chochmah, the great Father, and Binah, the great Mother. These two are usually referred to as Abba and Aima respectively--the first male and the first female, the prototypes of sex. These correspond to the first two letters of the sacred name, Jehovah, יהוה, IHVH. The Father is the י, or I, and the Mother is the ה, or H. Abba and Aima symbolize the creative activities of the universe, and are established in the creative world of Briah. In the Sepher ha Zohar it is written, "And therefore are all things established in the equality of male and female; for were it not so, how could they subsist? This beginning is the Father of all things; the Father of all Fathers; and both are mutually bound together, and the one path shineth into the other--Chochmah, Wisdom, as the Father; Binah, Understanding, as the Mother."

There is a difference of opinion concerning certain of the relationships of the parts of the first triad. Some Qabbalists, including Ibn Gebirol, consider Kether as the Father, Binah as the Mother, and Chochmah as the Son. In this later arrangement, Wisdom, which is the attribute of the Son, becomes the creator of the lower spheres. The symbol of Binah is the dove, a proper emblem for the brooding maternal instinct of the Universal Mother.

Because of the close similarity of their creative triad to the Christian Trinity, the later Qabbalists rearranged the first three Sephiroth and added a mysterious point called Daath--a hypothetical eleventh Sephira. This is located where the horizontal line connecting Chochmah and Binah crosses the vertical line joining Kether and Tiphereth. While Daath is not mentioned by the first Qabbalists, it is a highly important element and its addition to the Sephirothic Tree was not made without full realization of the significance of such action. If Chochmah be considered the active, intelligent energy of Kether, and Binah the receptive capacity of Kether, then Daath becomes the thought which, created by Chochmah, flows into Binah. The postulation of Daath clarifies the problem of the Creative Trinity, for here it is diagrammatically represented as consisting of Chochmah (the Father), Binah (the Mother, or Holy Ghost), and Daath, the Word by which the worlds were established. Isaac Myer discounts the importance of Daath, declaring it a subterfuge to conceal the fact that Kether, and not Chochmah; is the true Father of the Creative Triad. He makes no attempt to give a satisfactory explanation for the symbolism of this hypothetical Sephira.

According to the original conception, from the union of the Divine Father and the Divine Mother is produced Microprosophus--the Short Face or the Lesser Countenance, which is established in the Yetziratic World of formation and corresponds to the letter ו, or V, in the Great Name. The six powers of Microprosophus flow from and are contained in their own source, which is Binah, the Mother of the Lesser Adam. These constitute the spheres of the sacred planets; their name is Elohim, and they move upon the face of the deep. The tenth Sephira--Malchuth, the Kingdom--is described as the Bride of the Lesser Adam, created back to back with her lord, and to it is assigned the final, ה, or H, the last letter of the Sacred Name. The dwelling place of Malchuth is in the fourth world--Assiah--and it is composed of all the superior powers reflected into the elements of the terrestrial sphere. Thus it will be seen that the Qabbalistic Tree extends through four worlds, with its branches in matter and its roots in the Ancient of Ancients--Macroprosophus.

Three vertical columns support the universal system as typified by the Sephirothic Tree. The central pillar has its foundation in Kether, the Eternal One. It passes downward through the hypothetical Sephira, Daath, and then through Tiphereth and Jesod, with its lower end resting upon the firm foundation of Malchuth, the last of the globes. The true import of the central pillar is equilibrium. It demonstrates how the Deity always manifests by emanating poles of expression from the midst of Itself but remaining free from the illusion of polarity. If the numbers of the four Sephiroth connected by this column be added together (1 +6 +9 + 10), the sum is 26, the number of Jehovah. (See chapter on Pythagorean Mathematics.)

The column on the right, which is called Jachin, has its foundation on Chochmah, the outpouring Wisdom of God; the three globes suspended from it are all masculine potencies. The column at the left is called Boaz. The three globes upon it are feminine and receptive potencies, for it is founded in Understanding, a receptive and maternal potency. Wisdom, it will be noted, is considered as radiant or outpouring, and Understanding as receptive, or something which is filled by the flowing of Wisdom. The three pillars are ultimately united in Malchuth, in which all the powers of the superior worlds are manifested.

The four globes upon the central column reveal the function of the creative power in the various worlds. In the first world the creative power is Will--the one Divine Cause; in the second world, the hypothetical Daath--the Word coming forth from the Divine Thought; in the third world, Tiphereth--the Sun, or focal point between God and Nature; in the fourth world it is twofold, being the positive and negative poles of the reproductive system, of which Jesod is the male and Malchuth the female.

In Kircher's Sephirothic Tree it should be especially noted that the ornaments of the Tabernacle appear in the various parts of the diagram. These indicate a direct relationship between the sacred House of God and the universe--a relationship which must always be considered as existing between the Deity through whose activity the world is produced and the world itself, which must be the house or vehicle of that Deity. Could the modern scientific world but sense the true profundity of these philosophical deductions of the ancients, it would realize that those who fabricated the structure of the Qabbalah possessed a knowledge of the celestial plan comparable in every respect with that of the modern savant.

The Tetragrammaton, or the four-lettered Name of God, written thus יהוה, is pronounce Jehovah. The first letter is י, Yod, the Germ, the Life, the Flame, the Cause, the One, and the most fundamental of the Jewish phallic emblems. Its numerical value is 10, and it is to be considered as the 1 containing the 10. In the Qabbalah it is declared that the a Yod is in reality three Yods, of which the first is the beginning, the second is the center, and the third is the end. Its throne is the Sephira Chochmah (according to Ibn Gebirol, Kether), from which it goes forth to impregnate Binah, which is the first ה, He. The result of this union is Tiphereth, which is the ו Vau, whose power is 6 and which symbolizes the six members of the Lesser Adam. The final ה, He, is Malchuth, the Inferior Mother, partaking in part of the potencies of the Divine Mother, the first He. By placing the four letters of the Tetragrammaton in a vertical column, a figure closely resembling the human body is produced, with Yod for the head, the first He for the arms and shoulders, Vau for the trunk of the body, and the final He for the hips and legs. If the Hebrew letters be exchanged for their English equivalents, the form is not materially changed or the analogy altered. It is also extremely significant that by inserting the letter ש, Shin, in the middle of the name Jehovah, the word Jehoshua, or Jesus, is formed thus:


In the Qabbalistic Mysteries, according to Eliphas Levi, the name Jehovah is occasionally written by connecting together 24 dots--the 24 powers before the throne--and it is believed that the name of the Power of Evil is the sign of Jehovah reversed or inverted. (See Transcendental Magic.) Of the Great Word, Albert Pike writes: "The True Word of a Mason is to be found in the concealed and profound meaning of the Ineffable Name of Deity, communicated by God to Moses; and which meaning was long lost by the very precautions taken to conceal it. The true pronunciation of that name was in truth a secret, in which, however, was involved the far more profound secret of its meaning. In that meaning is included all the truth that can be known by us, in regard to the nature of God."

Formative and Zoharic Semantics in the 10 Sephirot




Zoharic   Sepherot











































The anthropomorphic imagery of past revelations was necessary as intelligible symbols for minds living in those times. Five hundred or a thousand years later, the same truths must live in new containers, alive with the spirit of the times. In science, we have forsaken angels and demons and now express fundamental truths in Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and M-Theory. The imageless transparency of the Autiot offer an opportunity to dissolve the images of mystical theosophy -- the "crystalline dew on the head of 'Atik-Yomin," for instance -- and find instead a semantically-accurate (hyper)language of structure and energy accurate across the entire range of the structuration of the one dual energy. The monotheistic viewpoint is bound to a one-way emanative spiritual cosmology, which is opposed in the world by a rationalistic materialism. The Qabala of Bereshit and the Sepher Yetsira reveals a completely integrated two-way exposition of the one energy: energy flows from Aleph to Tav and back from Tav to Aleph (Bayt-Raysh-Aleph-Sheen-Yod-Tav).

Lives run and come back, and on this word (the) covenant is made (SY, I,8). When considering the Sephirot, it is important to keep the double flow in mind: not only the emanation from infinite expansive (spiritual) energy (Kether), but the return interplay and physical supports from the infinite compressive (material) energy (Malkut). Hhockmah, for instance, must be understood not just as receiving the structuralizing energy of Keter, but as a simulataneous endogenous response by the unstructured substance of creation: the
autiot of the Hebrew alphabet are the reverse imprint of God's Will on the unstructured energy (void) of His creation: "This return shock is the language of the Autiot uttered by throught which receives and drives along the game of life, death and existence."   Formative Meaning The central column of the Tree of Life: Sephirot: 1 + 6 + 9 + 10 = 26 = YHWH. The Tree of Life is "structured" so that the Sephirot on the central column total YHWH in number. This is a "formative" meaning, based only on the numbers of the sephirot, not their attributes.









































The classical attributes are valid metaphors, but the formative meanings tell us exactly what is happening -- the Infinite is becoming Finite -- exactly through what agency -- YHWH -- and exactly what the agency represents: two lives in a fertile union in actual existence. If only we could listen. The Tree and even the attributes of the Zohar have much to tell us about the two lives of YHWH and their relationship to Adam Qadmon and our potential realization. The Formative Alphabet: the inner meanings of the Hebrew Alphabet, as a three-fold expansion of nine basic signs describing biologically-structured energy in different states of organization. It is the minimal set of abstract, creative energies or structural-semantic primes necessary to generate a universe through ten spheres of manifestation.

Sephira 1: Aleph:   Keter/Kether :   Infinite energy/consciousness, Intemporal, Unknowable, Life-death. Aleph and Ehhad define the same energy from the usual double perspective: Aleph creating movement (30) in a pool of actual possibilities (80) or the totalized potentials (8) developing their own resistance (4) in response to Aleph. This theme, and the role of Hayt, will be developed in the next Sephira, number 2, Hhokmah, and expanded throughout the 10.

Sephira 2: Bayt:   Hhokmah:   Archetypal (beyond space-time) container. The response of 2-Bayt-container to the energy of 1-Aleph-infinite unlies all creation . Hhokmah: Kaf (20) is Bayt (2) in existence. It defines the containing energy of the 2nd Sephira (receiving the emanation of Keter) as an endogenous response from the depths of unstructured energy (8), which acquires physical supports (20) and a living (5) biological pattern (40), which searches for/is imprinted with the energy of 1-Aleph-Keter. This pattern is the 22 Autiot of the Hebrew alephbet, and it is wise because the containers of thought are in the exact shape of infinite cosmic energy, but in reverse: they are what they signify.

Sephira 3: Ghimel:   Binah:   Completes the initial triad. This is the 3-Ghimel-movement/energy of every 2-Bayt-container animated by 1-Aleph-infinite: the Mother of all things. It is itself a container (Bayt) in existence (Yod) for two lives: an inner life (5/Hay) and an outer, existential life (50/Noun). The double life of Binah is bestowed on Gedolah, the last interior and Gevurah, the first exterior, Sephirot in Adam Qadmon's Cube of Space. Both equations begin with Ghimel, receiving the double inner and outer movement of 3-Ghimel-Binah. Schlesch (Sheen-Lammed-Sheen, 300.30.300) expresses motion with a double cosmic movement, but the repetitiousness of Oomq Tov shows that Adam Qadmon is not yet complete.

Sephira 4: Dalet:   Gedolah:   Resistance. In Gedolah, Sephira 4, resistance/response (Dalet/4) to the movement (Ghimel/3) of Binah produces its own controlled organic movement (Lammed/30) as a living (5/Hay) response. In Gevurah, the substitution of Bayt for Dallet and Raysh for Lammed is the difference betweeen the inner life of the 4th Sephira and Esh M'Maim and the outer life of the 5th and Ha'im-Mot. In one, the 3 of Binah is an inner living movement; in the other, it contributes to the formation of a living body (the 5/life/Sephira forms 2/Bayt/container and Saturn/Shabatai (Sheen-Bayt-Tav-Yod) with a double life: Hayt-Yod-Yod-Mem. Here, in the 4th, the basic internal structural cycle is completed and archetypal existence is achieved: Aleph-Yod-Sheen, Iysch, Man, is formed in the resistant waters of Mem and Adam Qadmon's internal space is completed in Oomq Raa. The medieval kabbalists had such a fear of "evil" that they identified it with Malkut (or fear of the material world that they identified it with evil).

According to later Kabbalists, these ten directions parallel the Ten Sefirot in the following manner:































The Zoharic integrators had a difficult time with the sephirotic descriptions of the pre-Zohar Sepher Yetzira, especially the sephirot of (depth of) good and evil. This led, ultimately, to radical changes in the underlying cosmology of both the Cube of Space and Tree of Life, as they struggled with where to put an "evil" sephirot and what qualities to assign to the last, among other problems.

Here’s another  key  -Zohar Sepher Yetzira – means  “O point ( time ) O point ( space ) STREAM TRAVEL “.

The early sources of the Sepher Yetsira are all consistent in formative letter/astrological planet correspondences and their assignment to the Sephirot 5 through 10 (allowing for left-right/Venus-Mercury swaps in Adam Qadmon's orientation).  
Later Kabbalah withdrew planetary status from Malkut, changed the formative letter/planetary assignments and displaced the six planets of the extremities into the upper four sephirot.
The proper place for the symbolic categories of space, time and the soul are the three formative spheres of the seven double letters: b'olam, the universe, b'shinah, transformation and b'nephesh the individual -- Bayt with Saturn in the universe, Saturday in the year, right eye in the soul -- the six "dimensions" of the lower sephirot are each formative through three "worlds" of creation.
Space-time itself is only a function of the 10th sephira. The other nine are all beyond space-time. The five-dimensionalists reduce the Cube of Space to a 3-D analogy because they do not understand the dimensions as psychological or symbolic: that is, as structuring inner, psychological space.
Reshit/Acharit, for example, supposedly the dimension of time, are two poles of the creative energy of being, the breath from above (Reshit) and the breath from below (Acharit), which show Aleph and Yod in particular relationships. The ten sephirot are more usefully considered as spiritual, or psychological dimensions. The last six, which form an experiential or development space, have directions in the sense of higher goals, basic identity, a future ahead of and a past behind us, a sensual-right-brain input and a cognitive left-brain response and a psyche at the center coordinating it all.
Space-time is a property of existence, which is fully achieved only with the Yod/10th Sephira, Malkut. The last six sephirot must be considered in
pairs, as they are sealed in the Cube of Space, successively by Yod, Hay and Waw: the axes of identity/existence, life and union/interpenetration.  

Sephira 5: Hay: Life  
Gevurah: Strength/Rigor. With the formation of Adam Qadmon's inner life complete at the 4th Sephira (the first Yod in Ruahh Elohim Hayim), the 5th Sephira of Life forms his outer, experiential life. The double, inner and outer life, is achieved only with the 5th, where 2/Bayt forms the material and spiritual body alive in the universe. The theme of life permeates this Sephira on every level and is vital to its understanding.

Sephira 6: Waw: Union   Tiphereth: Beauty. Formatively, Tipheret is interesting for the sole Aleph in the Tree of Life -- if we chose Rachamim, compassion, as our attribute, there are none -- and for the two Tavs which enclose it with its structured (Raysh) and unstructured (Phay) aspects. The 6th Sephirot, Sheesh, Sheen-Sheen, 300.300, is a double cosmic movement or Breath: the union of the Breath from above and the Breath from below.

Sephira 7: Zayn: Indetermination   Netzach: Triumph. Triumph may be implied in the achieved freedom of the 7th Sephira: an indeterminate future in the East of the Cube of Space, formed by 4/Dalet (resistance) and Meadim (Aleph in the waters of existence, Mem-Yod-Mem) in the universe. The 7th and 8th sephiras form the (psychological) future and past in abstract Man's developmental and experiential space. They describe a binomial and flow of energy from 7 (indeterminate future) to 8 (unstructured past). The 7th-8th (front-back) axis is sealed with the Hay of Life (as experienced in developemental time). Netzach: Noun/50-Tsadde/90-Hayt-/8: the future is a place where existential life builds structures for consciousness.

Sephira 8: Hhayt: Potential   Hod: Glory   Hhayt, the archetype of unstructured, unconditioned energy or consciousness, or the sum of all possible possibilities is the other pole of the energy of Hay/Life, which flows from an indeterminate future to an indefinite past. The Hay (archetypal life) of Hay-Waw-Dalet complements the Noun (existential life) of Noun-Tsadde-Yod. Kaf, the projection of 2/Bayt as the physical supports for life, forms Hhamah, Hayt-Mem-Hay, where the two lives are summarized once more. God's Glory is His infinite potential.

Sephira 9: Tayt: Formation   Yesod: Foundation   Tayt, the archetypal formative cell, is the primary context for the 9th Sephira. This is the sphere of Yetziratic formation, joined to Malkut, the 10th Sephira of manifest existence, with the Waw of their seals. The Cube carries more information in the North-South and Left-Right directions, as well as in the the formative letter and planet/contrary quality. Yesod: Yod-Sammekh-Waw-Dalet: existence- female & male copulative action-resistance: existence proliferates reality. There are two Yods: Yesod and Yetzira, but existence is not yet a full biological process: achieved with the 10th/Existence sephira and its Mem-Lammed-Kaf-Waw-Tav, where Aleph completes the circuit with Tav and Shem-El.

Sephira 10: Yod: Existence  
Malkut: Kingdom   With Yod/10, Aleph in duration, existence is complete in the 10th sephira. Ten is the projection of One into existence, which is existence. Malkut: Mem-Lammed-Kaf-Waw-Tav: is another Kaf/container for the transmuted energy of Kaf-Tav-Raysh, Kether. With Tav, Malkut and Shekinah resist the cosmic energy of Aleph to the point of being Aleph. In Zoharic sephirot, Malkut is the second Mem since Hhokmah: the biological process of the higher and lower worlds. The Yetziratic formation of the 9th Sephira is wedded to the biological process of material reality: sealed by the Waw/Union of the 9th-10th sephirot, Spirit and matter interlock.

This is the Kingdom, the 10th sephira of actual existence, formed by Pay/80 and Venus/Nogah: (largely) unconscious, sensuous material reality, completing the circuit of Aleph-Tav and returning it through Shem-El, the left: a deep secret, apparently.  So, take a deep breath and let’s start again:

The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim (עץ החיים) in Hebrew, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to God (usually referred to as HaShem, or "The Name", in Kabbalistic texts)[1] and the manner in which he created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation. Some[who?] believe the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis 2:9. This mystical concept was later adopted by some esoterically inclined Christians as well as some Hermeticists. Among the Christian Kabbalists[which?], the Sephiroth were called Dignities, and were referred to by their Latin names, instead of Hebrew Names of the ten Sephirot[citation needed]. Christian Kabbalah also places emphasis on Christ, as Sustainer and Preserver of the Universe, and the Malkuth of Jewish Kabbalah is absent, as it is considered of a different order-of-being. Ramon Llull, beatified by the Catholic Church, is well known among Christian Kabbalah lore for his writings on the subject.

Kabbalists believe the Tree of Life to be a diagrammatic representation of the process by which the Universe came into being. On the Tree of Life, the beginning of the Universe is placed at a space above the first Sephirah, named Kether ("crown" in English). It is not always pictured in reproductions of the Tree of Life, but is referred to universally as Ain Soph Aur (Ain - Without, Soph - End, Aur - Light). To the Kabbalists, it symbolises that point beyond which our comprehension of the origins of Being cannot go; it is considered to be an infinite nothingness out of which the first 'thing' (thought of in science and the Kabbalah to be energy) exploded to create a Universe of multiple things.[2][3] Kabbalists also do not envision time and space as pre-existing, and place them at the next three stages on the Tree of Life. First is Kether, or the Crown in English, which is thought of as the product of the contraction of Ain Soph Aur into a singularity of infinite energy or limitless light. In the Kabbalah, it is the primordial energy out of which all things are created. The next stage is Chokmah, or Wisdom, which is considered to be a stage at which the infinitely hot and contracted singularity expanded forth into space and time. It is often thought of as pure dynamic energy of an infinite intensity forever propelled forth at a speed faster than light. Next comes Binah, or Understanding, which is thought of as the primordial feminine energy, the Supernal Mother of the Universe which receives the energy of Chokmah, cooling and nourishing it into the multitudinous forms present throughout the whole cosmos.[4] It is also seen as the beginning of Time itself.

Numbers are very important to Kabbalists, and the Hebrew letters of the alphabet also have a numerical value for the Kabbalists. Each stage of the emanation of the Universe on the Tree of Life is numbered meaningfully from one, or the Sephirah of Kether to ten, or the Sephirah of Malkuth. The nature of each number is thought to express the nature of its Sephirah.[5]

The first three Sephiroth, called the Supernal Sephiroth, are considered to be the primordial energies of the Universe. The next stages of evolution on the Tree of Life are considered to exist beyond a space on the tree, called the Abyss, between the Supernals and the other Sephiroth, because their levels of being are so distinct from each other that they appear to exist in two totally different realities. The Supernal Sephiroth exist on a plane of divine energy. This is why another correspondence for Binah is the idea of suffering, because the Supernal Maternal energy gives birth to a world that is inherently excluded from that Divine Union. After Binah, the Universe gets down to the business of building the materials it will need to fulfill its evolution, and creating new combinations of those materials until it is so dense that, by the stage of Malkuth, the initial pure limitless energy has 'solidified' into the physical Universe. Since its energies are the basis of all Creation, the Tree of Life can potentially be applied to any area of life, especially the inner world of Man, from the subconscious all the way to what Kabbalists call the higher self.

But the Tree of Life does not only speak of the origins of the physical Universe out of the unimaginable, but also of Man's place in the Universe. Since Man is invested with Mind, consciousness in the Kabbalah is thought of as the fruit of the physical world, through whom the original infinite energy can experience and express itself as a finite entity. After the energy of Creation has condensed into matter, it is thought to reverse its course back up the Tree until it is once again united with its true nature. Thus, the kabbalist seeks to know himself and the Universe as an expression of God, and to make the journey of Return by stages charted by the Sephiroth, until he has come to the realisation he sought.


The Tree of Life bears many similarities to the Christian Gnostic conception of the Pleroma, emanations from the ineffable and self-originating Divine Parent that offer the best possible means of describing God. Each emanation in the Pleroma is born from a more complex emanation before it. Most notably between these two allegories is the final Sephirah on the Tree, Malkuth, and the last emanation in the Pleroma, Sophia, whose fall resulted in the physical world.

In the Bhagavad Gita there is a mention of Asvattha, tree of Life and Being, whose destruction alone leads to immortality, is said in the Bhagavad Gita to grow with its roots above and its branches below. The roots represent the Supreme Being, or First Cause, the LOGOS; but one has to go beyond those roots to unite oneself with Krishna... The Vedas are its leaves. He only who goes beyond the roots shall never return, i.e., shall reincarnate no more during this "age" of Brahma.

sephirah (plural sephiroth or sephirot)

  1. (Kabbalah) Each of the ten attributes that God created, through which he can project himself to the universe and man.

In the Kabbalah, the Sephiroth (or Enumerations) are the ten emanations of God (or infinite light: Ain Soph Aur) into the universe. These emanations manifest not only in the physical part of the universe, but also in the metaphysical one. Kabbalah distinguish four different worlds or planes: Atziluth (אֲצִילוּת), or World of Emanations, where the Divine Archetypes live; Beri'ah (בְּרִיאָה) or World of Creations, where Highest Ranking Angels are; Yetzirah (יְצִירָה) or World of Formations is the astral world; and Asiyah (עֲשִׂיָּה) or World of Actions, is the physical plane and "low astral" plane. Each of these worlds are progressively grosser and denser, but the ten Sephiroth manifest in all of them.

The names of the Sephirot are:

Occasionally another is enumerated:

This is called the false Sephirah, because it is not an "independent" emanation like all the others: it depends on Chokmah and Binah, and although follows Binah in the order of emanations, it is assigned the number 11. Da'at can be considered as the image of Tiphareth. Da'at is the child in the womb of the Universal Mother Binah, while Tiphareth is that child born and grown up.

Kether heads the central column or the tree, which is known as "Pillar of Mildness", associated with Hebrew letter Aleph, "the breath", and the air element; Chokmah heads the right column of the tree, the "Pillar of Mercy", associated with Hebrew letter Shin, the fire element, and the male aspect; the left column is headed by Binah, it is called the "Pillar of Severity", and is asociated with Hebrew letter Mem (literally meaning "water"), the water element and the female aspect. The "pillar of Mildness" is a neutral one, a balance between the two opposing forces of male and female (or Yang and Yin) tendencies.

Etymology here

Many words in other languages are derivative from Hebrew language stem ספר S-F-R in Sefirah. Partial list includes:

Here I must add:
“If Derivatives happen to exist, in some other culture somewhere else, long before the seed word itself or concepts related to it where in use in a population, even if someone claims that God in person gave them dierectly these gifts, I would sincerely have a doubt, and try to find out what really happened. Plagiarists usually hate the truth as it proves with time the existence of inconsistent lies based on second hand concepts, usually diverted and abused”.    

The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim (עץ החיים) in Hebrew, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to HaShem[1] and the manner in which He created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation. Some[who?] believe the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis 2:9. This mystical concept was later adopted by some esoterically inclined Christians as well as some Hermeticists. Among the Christian Kabbalists, the Sephiroth were called Dignities, and were referred to by their Latin names, instead of Hebrew Names. Christian Kabbalah also places emphasis on Christ, as Sustainer and Preserver of the Universe, and the Malkuth of Jewish Kabbalah is absent, as it is considered of a different order-of-being. Ramon Llull, beatified by the Catholic Church, is well known among Christian/Catholic Kaballah lore for his writings on the subject.

·         Kabbalists believe the Tree of Life to be a diagrammatic representation of the process by which the Universe came into being. On the Tree of Life, the beginning of the Universe is placed at a space above the first Sephirah, named Kether ("crown" in English). It is not always pictured in reproductions of the Tree of Life, but is referred to universally as Ain Soph Aur (Ain - Without, Soph - End, Aur - Light). To the Kabbalists, it symbolises that point beyond which our comprehension of the origins of Being cannot go; it is considered to be an infinite nothingness out of which the first 'thing' (thought of in science and the Kabbalah to be energy) exploded to create a Universe of multiple things. [2] [3] Kabbalists also do not envision time and space as pre-existing, and place them at the next three stages on the Tree of Life. First is Kether, or the Crown in English, which is thought of as the product of the contraction of Ain Soph Aur into a singularity of infinite energy or limitless light. In the Kabbalah, it is the primordial energy out of which all things are created. The next stage is Chokmah, or Wisdom, which is considered to be a stage at which the infinitely hot and contracted singularity expanded forth into space and time. It is often thought of as pure dynamic energy of an infinite intensity forever propelled forth at a speed faster than light. It is considered to be the primordial masculine energy, which is also referred to in Chinese Taoist philosophy as Yang. Next comes Binah, or Understanding, which is thought of as the primordial feminine energy, the Supernal Mother of the Universe which receives the energy of Chokmah, cooling and nourishing it into the multitudinous forms present throughout the whole cosmos. It is also seen as the beginning of Time itself. It is analogous to the Chinese concept of Yin, which together with Yang are considered to be the basis of all of Creation. There are many parallels between Taoist philosophy and the Kabbalistic conceptions of the Tree of Life.

·         Numbers are very important to Kabbalists, and the Hebrew letters of the alphabet also have a numerical value for the Kabbalists. Each stage of the emanation of the Universe on the Tree of Life is numbered meaningfully from one, or the Sephiroth of Kether to ten, or the Sephiroth of Malkuth. The nature of each number is thought to express the nature of its Sephirah.

·         The first three Sephiroth, called the Supernal Sephiroth, are considered to be the primordial energies of the Universe. The next stages of evolution on the Tree of Life are considered to exist beyond a space on the tree, called the Abyss, between the Supernals and the other Sephiroth, because their levels of being are so distinct from each other that they appear to exist in two totally different realities. The Supernal Sephiroth exist on a plane of divine energy. This is why another correspondence for Binah is the idea of suffering, because the Supernal Maternal energy gives birth to a world that is inherently excluded from that Divine Union. After Binah, the Universe gets down to the business of building the materials it will need to fulfill its evolution, and creating new combinations of those materials until it is so dense that, by the stage of Malkuth, the initial pure limitless energy has 'solidified' into the physical Universe. Since its energies are the basis of all Creation, the Tree of Life can potentially be applied to any area of life, especially the inner world of Man, from the subconscious all the way to what Kabbalists call the higher self.

·         But the Tree of Life does not only speak of the origins of the physical Universe out of the unimaginable, but also of Man's place in the Universe. Since Man is invested with Mind, consciousness in the Kabbalah is thought of as the fruit of the physical world, through whom the original infinite energy can experience and express itself as a finite entity. After the energy of Creation has condensed into matter, it is thought to reverse its course back up the Tree until it is once again united with its true nature. Thus, the kabbalist seeks to know himself and the Universe as an expression of God, and to make the journey of Return by stages charted by the Sephiroth, until he has come to the realisation he sought.

·         Similarities

·         The Tree of Life bears many similarities to the Christian Gnostic conception of the Pleroma, emanations from the ineffable and self-originating Divine Parent that offer the best possible means of describing God. Each emanation in the Pleroma is born from a more complex emanation before it. Most notably between these two allegories is the final Sephirah on the Tree, Malkuth, and the last emanation in the Pleroma, Sophia, whose fall from grace resulted in the physical world.

·         The knowledge of Kabbalah is mighty. Throughout centuries esotherists from various backgrounds, inspired by the Jewish Kabbalah, created their own mystical Kabbalah systems. The oldest and most ancient Kabbalah manuscript is Sefer Yetzirah – Book of Formation. It is believed that Jewish Mysticism has its origin in the biblical times of Abraham, and that the knowledge of Sefer Jetsirah has been conveyed orally from one generation to the other.

Rabbi Akiba in the 10th century brought into light a short booklet – the first written version of Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Formation. It describes the basic structure of Kabbalah, i.e., the creation of our Universe through 22 hidden paths (22 letters of Hebrew aleph-beth) and 10 Sephirots. In France, in the 11th century appeared Bahir – the Book of Illumination. Somewhat latter in Spain appeared Zohar – the Book of Splendor, another important Kabbalah document. The exodus of Jews from Spain in 1492 helped spread the classical Kabbalah throughout Europe. Aaron Ben Samuel created the German Kabbalah, which is rooted in the Merkabah mysticism, with emphasis on magical rituals.

At large, the western Kabbalah is actually Christian Kabbalah, with add-ons like alchemy, tarot, magical rituals, astrology, numerology (notaricon, temurah), etc. The possibility of complementing Kabbalah by introducing new aspects is easy and unlimited. What is common to all variations of Kabbalah is the strong desire for a mystical experience of reunification with God. Meditation, prayer, prayer for others, mantra, fasting, and proper conduct is a way of achieving this goal.

·         Kabbalah is a key to controlling the subtle powers in achieving genuine mystical experience of Oneness. The transcendental experience lies beyond the borders of the rational and even the irrational mind. The Divine experience lies even further on the scale of spiritual accomplishments. To convey your own experience to somebody is hardly possible. It could only be done by Divine means of communication, which lie above and beyond the Tree of Life. This is the reason why the higher Sephirots are so vaguely comprehensible.

The Tree of Life is expressed through Sephirots into 4 worlds:

Atzilut – archetypal, Divine world, world of emanations, level of radiation
Beriah – creative world, world of Archangels, level of creation
Yetzirah – formative world, world of Angels, level of shaping
Asiyah – manifested world, world of chakras and nadis, physical level

Beyond Keter in the world of Atzilut are three veils of negative existence: nothing, limitless nothing, and limitless light. These veils contain and conceal the unmanifested aspects of the Sephirots, the ones that human mind can hardly comprehend. Keter is created by contraction of the limitless light. It is the first perceivable point of manifestation. In spite of that, both Atzilut and Beriah are on the far side of human understanding. Their structure can only be hinted through the expression of the Sephirots in the lower worlds. Yetzirah and Asiyah, on the other hand, are somewhat closer to our understanding.

The Tree of Life depicts the descent of the Divine into the manifested world. It contains three Pillars upon which the 10 Sephirots are distributed. The left side of the Tree – which corresponds to the Pillar of Severity – is related to the left side of the brain (Pingala). The right side of the Tree – which corresponds to the Pillar of Mercy – prefers the right side of the brain (Ida). Our spinal cord corresponds to the Middle Pillar on the Tree of Life, which is Pillar of Balance (Sushumna).

The Tree of Life is more spiritual in its upper parts.

The 22 Paths on the Tree of Life contain the 22 Letters of the Hebrew aleph-beth and interconnect the 10 Sephirots. Each Sephirot has its own number.

Sephirot No. 1, Keter is Thought,
Sephirot No. 2, Chokhmah is Wisdom,
Sephirot No. 3, Binah is Understanding,
Sephirot No. 4, Chesed is Mercy,
Sephirot No. 5, Gevurah in Power,
Sephirot No. 6, Tifereth is Glory,
Sephirot No. 7, Netzach is Victory,
Sephirot No. 8, Hod is Identifying with God,
Sephirot No. 9, Yesod is Foundation, and
Sephirot No. 10, Malkuth is Kingdom.

The Sephirot Daat – Knowledge, has no number and is situated in the gap between Chokhmah – Binah, and Chesed – Gevurah.

Each Path connects two Sephirots.

The Paths on the Tree of Life represent our movement from one state or condition to another. They are our subjective experiences. In Kabbalah special emphasis is put on Paths that correspond to so called Mother letters. These Paths are positioned horizontally on the Tree of Life. SHIN connects Chokhmah and Binah, it is a Plane of Fire and corresponds to the Right Pillar – head. This Plane governs the celestial world, which includes the constellation of planets and stars. ALEPH connects Chesed and Gevurah, it is a Plane of Air, and corresponds to the Central Pillar – lungs. The Plane of Air controls the rain. MEM connects Netzach and Hod, it is a Plane of Water, and corresponds to the Left Pillar – abdomen. The Plane of Water is the source of the regular sequence of the seasons. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, the waters of the Earth change appropriately.

To each of the Paths a single Major Arcana (a key or mystery) is connected. The Arcanas represent the Cosmic Elements, and each of the Arcanas is a small Universe for itself. To understand the Arcanas properly, a mental ability of simultaneous differentiation and identification of seemingly inconsistent concepts is needed. This inconsistency exists only in the mind of the observer. Once this is understood, there comes the possibility of initiation.

The true meaning of the Tarot Cards is revealing the Universe. Each Tarot Card is a key to the invisible world. There are 78 Cards in total: 22 Major Arcana – constituting parts of the Tree of Life, 40 Minor Arcana – representing the four elements distributed in the ten Sephirots, and 16 Court Cards which as well belong to the Sephirots.

The Sephirot, Emanation or Sphere, is a Symbol of an objective state. The Sephiriot is a number. A number is a primitive forms of an Archetype. It is a mediator between people and higher worlds. A number is an alias for a secret law. Symbols are technical help, intuitive ideas, they transform the psychical energy from lesser to greater forms.

We know that the logic of the ego-consciousness does not reach the sub-conscious mind. A symbolic image could be composed of known elements, but behind the whole there can be something hidden, something that cannot be interpreted. That something is of opposite meaning. It is a secret. The unconsciouss part of our personality understands symbols. By using symbols we can express hardly apprehensible unconscious material.

The symbolic process is unconscious. It is perceived in images, i.e., the messages are received in form of images. Without symbols we cannot get in touch with our unconscious. Therefore, it can be stated that the symbol is a middle way on which the opposites merge to enable new motion.

Kabbalah can be interpreted and explained in different ways. The differences can be attributed to the point of perspective of the author, his religion and/or his belief. Kaballah is quite difficult to categorize since its philosophy cannot be verified and not based on historic fact.

Kabbalah is believed to have developed in Babylonia, Spain, Italy and Provence between the 6th and 13th centuries AD among Jews. Kabbalah means “to receive” referring to God’s revelation to Jews. The revelations were not written down but were passed on through succeeding generations through narratives. Kaballah used to be part of mainstream Judaism but later on applied to a select few who were believed to have been given the secret knowledge to interpret the true meaning of the Hebraic Scriptures or the Christians’ Old Testament.

Kabbalah is part of Jewish mysticism. Mysticism is not really a new concept for it has been part of every known belief or religious affiliation. If Judaism has Kabbalah, the Christians have Christian mysticism; the Islam has Sufims; Hinduism has Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. Mysticism is perceived to be a departure from mainstream religions and that practitioners and believers of such are more “enlightened”.

Kabbalah is an offshoot of Judaism. Its philosophy is based on the speculative character or nature of divinity, the origin and fate of the human soul, the creation and man’s role in the universe. Mysticism has been a part of Judaism. Visitations by angels, prophesies, visions and dreams as expressed in the Torah are considered mystical experiences by some Jews. There are Jews who believe that there are parts in the Talmud where hints (vague as they may be) of a school for the mystics taught only to the most advanced student. Even today, only Jews who have undergone extensive studies of the Torah and Talmud can begin to study the mystic Kabbalah. On the other hand, non-Jews have studied and embraced the principles and concept of Kabbalah for centuries, even before Kabbalah has taken a more “popular” route when celebrities started to “practice” the philosophy.

Kabbalah claims to adhere and inspired by the Scripture but in reality it does not search for the plain and simple truths of the Scripture. Kabbalah is all about “magic” and mysticism. It is subjective and uses methods such as numerology in trying to find hidden meanings to suit one’s teachings and beliefs. This is the Kabbalah that has been distorted and warped for centuries by occultists and mystics.

The occultists and mystics are not limited to Jews. During the Renaissance period there were many “enlightened” Christians who took Kabbalah (Hermetic Kabbalah) out of its context and re-interpreted its doctrine to fit their Christian belief. Early Christians, also, were not able to reconcile with only one God that they started the sainthood route for more idols to pray to and intercede for them to God. The Age of Enlightened happened for one, because of the many rituals and traditions practiced by the Roman Catholic that went against the teaching of the Bible. On the other hand mystical symbols of Kaballah were taken out of its perspective and used in reading tarot cards, magic and divination that were not originally part of Jewish Kaballah. The “Hollywood” Kabbalah borrows the language, symbols, traditions and superstitions of the Jewish Kabbalah but its teaching are not from authentic Jewish sources.

What then is Kabbalah? For Judaism Kabbalah the main thrust is that of the concept of God as Ein Sof, the Ten Sefirot and the tree of life. In Kabbalah God is above all things and that its concept is beyond description. Ein Sof (without end) is the true essence of God. True, God, even in Abrahimic religions, is everlasting. This would mean that God is not bounded by time and space. In Christianity, God is omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent. In Jewish Kabbalah, the Ein SOF has no direct contact with the universe but connects and interacts with the universe through the Ten Sefirot.


A Parallel Universe
In previous articles, we have explained that the word Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew word makbeel, which means parallel. This is because one of the foundational secrets of Kabbalah is that everything in the physical world is merely a parallel of the spiritual reality. By studying the physical with the proper tools, knowledge, and guidance, we can get past our usual superficial understandings and delve deeper into ourselves, the world, and reality. Our senses are no exception. Our hearing and seeing are mere parallels, physical reflections of a deeper spiritual concept of what it means to truly hear and what it means to truly see.

Physical Sight
When you look at some thing, all you see is the outer layer of color. The first thing the eye has contact with is all you get with sight. Sight means, in essence, to see the cover, not the book. For example, when I look at my kitchen table, I see the external cover of the table, the surface of the table. I don't see the atoms flying around. I don't see the deeper inner essence of the table.

Conceptual Sight
The concept of sight means to see clearly, but only the surface.

We often judge people one way based on our first impression, but then we are exposed to something deeper about the person, which causes us to have a complete paradigm shift. This is the concept of "hearing." Hearing implies the ability to get beyond the surface and understand something for its inner depth. Speech comes from the inside. When someone speaks to us, he is exposing something of himself that is deeper than the outer layer, something beyond the surface. And it is only when we truly receive what he is saying on his terms that he senses that he has been truly understood and feels heard.

·         The Hebrew word kavanot doesn’t have a direct translation to English, even though English is a far richer language: it beats Hebrew 250,000 words to 80,000. The closest translation would be “intentions.” That’s the definition most commonly used in the context of Jewish rituals — the meaning and purpose that informs your actions. Kavanot are a hallmark of kabbalah’s teachings.

A thought: “Opening those envelopes each year and seeing, sometimes in surprising ways, how we brought those kavanot into being in our lives is a powerful experience. The year I wrote on my list………To create a bond between us that would last a lifetime…….  Desires…desires… wishes…..intentions….” I guess these kavanot aren’t exactly what we hwere talking about, and probably their origin should be rooted in deep antiquity, from the time of ancient Babylon, a time when the wisdom of Kabbalah  remained virtually hidden from humanity since it appeared ( more than four thousand years ago ). To this very day, only a few know what Kabbalah really is.

Consider what this sentence says now:

“For millennia, humanity was offered a wide variety of things under the name “Kabbalah”: spells, curses, and even miracles - all except for the method of Kabbalah itself. ( This is the karmic consequence of the habit to accept gifts offered by strangers or people you do not know. )


….or for over four thousand years, common understanding of Kabbalah has been cluttered with misconceptions and misinterpretations.  ( This is the karmic consequence of the use of diverted concepts and interpretations made with the specific purpose and intent to alter its truth and hide its secrets away ).

Here we have finally a proof of this habit, carried out by most of the powers that own the keys to knowledge, which is in favour of a non natural linguistic or conceptual shift, but claims that some work has been done to mystify things.  

·         This wisdom is no more and no less than a sequence of roots, which hang down by way of cause and effect, in fixed, determined rules, interweaving to a single, exalted goal described as, “the revelation of His Godliness to His creatures in this world.”

·         In simpler words, there is an upper, all-inclusive force, or “the Creator,” controlling everything in reality. All the world’s forces descend from this comprehensive force. Some of these forces are familiar to us, such as gravity or electricity, while there are forces of a higher order that act while remaining hidden to us.

·         Kabbalah holds the map or the knowledge of how these hidden forces are structured, and the laws by which they influence us. It teaches us (through books such as The Zohar and other means) how to develop a sense of these forces, and finally, discover their only purpose – to bring us to the revelation of the Creator, the all-inclusive law of nature, while living in this world.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is a scientific tool for studying the spiritual world. To explore our world, we use natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. But natural sciences study only the physical world we perceive with our five senses. To fully understand the world we live in, we need a research tool that can explore the hidden realm, that which our senses cannot perceive. This tool is the wisdom of Kabbalah. 

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, reality consists of two forces, or qualities: the desire to receive and the desire to bestow, to give.  

“Dualism again is trying to divide, what is One. Sentences of this kind are terribly dangerous, as you will notice and find out if you practice them, and as they can be found hiding here and there like traps in sacred books.” Take care. ---

Since the desire to bestow wants to give, it creates a desire to receive, hence its more commonly used name “the Creator.” Therefore, the whole of creation, including us, are manifestations of that desire to receive.

Using Kabbalah, we can work with the fundamental forces of reality-reception and bestowal-to our benefit. It doesn’t only teach us the design of creation, but how we can become designers, as omnipotent and as omniscient as the original Designer of reality. Kabbalah books teach the structure of the spiritual worlds, and how each of us can get there. A Kabbalah book is like a tour guide. If you want to travel to a new city, you’d probably want to use a tour guide to tell which are the best places to go see, the best coffee shops and clubs, and where you don’t want to go because you won’t like what you will find. Similarly, Kabbalah books tell you how the spiritual worlds are built, which “places” are more fun, and which are not. Of course, these are not physical places, but spiritual states that any Kabbalist experiences.  Another thing that Kabbalah books tell you is how to find the spiritual reality. If you want to go somewhere in this world, you need a map to that place, and a tour guide for studying the place itself. In spirituality, the Kabbalah books will do it all for you-“show” you where the spiritual world is, “drive” you there, and show you around. When Rav Kook-the great 20th century Kabbalist and the first Chief Rabbi of Israel-was asked who could study Kabbalah, his answer was unequivocal: “Anyone who wants to.” In the last one hundred years, all the Kabbalists without exception clearly stated, and on many occasions, that today Kabbalah is open to all. Moreover, they said that it is a necessary tool in resolving the global crisis that they predicted would come, and which we are facing today. 

According to all Kabbalists, Kabbalah’s hiding days are over. The wisdom of Kabbalah was previously hidden because Kabbalists feared that it would be misused, and misunderstood. And indeed, the little that did seep out evoked numerous misconceptions about it. Because Kabbalists state that our generation is ready to understand the real meaning of Kabbalah, and to clear up the past misconceptions, this science is now being opened to all who wish to learn.

I’m going to repeat this lesson again until you understand it. Take a deep breath….

Kabbalah/Kabala (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה lit. "receiving"; often contemporary transliteration with a 'K' distinguishes from other, derivative traditions outside Judaism)[citation needed] is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence (Southern France) and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine. It was popularized in the form of Hassidic Judaism in the 18th century.

Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious Creator and the mortal and finite universe (His creation). While it is heavily used by some denominations, it is not a denomination in and of itself; it is a set of scriptures that exist outside the traditional Jewish scriptures. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realization. Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of Jewish thought and constantly uses classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings. These teachings are thus held by kabbalists to define the inner meaning of both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and traditional rabbinic literature, their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.[1]

 According to the Zohar, a foundational text for kabbalistic thought, Torah study can proceed along four levels of interpretation (exegesis).[2][3] These four levels are called Pardes because their initial letters spell "PaRDeS" ("Orchard"):

Kabbalah is considered, by its followers, as a necessary part of the study of Torah – the study of Torah (the "Teachings" of God, in the Tanach and Rabbinic literature) being an inherent duty of observant Jews.[4] Kabbalah teaches doctrines that are accepted by some Jews as the true meaning of Judaism while other Jews have rejected these doctrines as heretical and antithetical to Judaism. After the Medieval Kabbalah, and especially after its 16th century development and synthesis, Kabbalah replaced "Hakira" (Jewish philosophy) as the mainstream traditional Jewish theology, both in scholarly circles and in the popular imagination. With the arrival of modernity, through the influence of Haskalah, this has changed among non-Orthodox Jewish denominations, though its 20th century academic study and cross-denominational spiritual applications (especially through Neo-Hasidism) has reawakened a following beyond Orthodoxy.

The origins of the actual term Kabbalah are unknown and disputed to belong either to Jewish philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021–1058) or else to the 13th century Spanish Kabbalist Bahya ben Asher. While other terms have been used in many religious documents from the 2nd century up to the present day, the term "Kabbalah" has become the main descriptive of Jewish esoteric knowledge and practices. The Kabbalistic literature, which served as the basis for the development of Kabbalistic thought, developed through a theological tradition from Antiquity, as part of wider Rabbinic literature. Its theoretical development can be characterised in alternative schools and successive stages. These especially include the early works of the 1st-2nd centuries (such as the Heichalot texts and the earliest existent book on Jewish esotericism Sefer Yetzirah); the Medieval flowering of the 12th-13th century (of which the main book is the Zohar); and early-modern developments, including the mystical revivals of 16th century Safed (especially of Isaac Luria), and 18th century Eastern Europe (new Hasidic popularisations of Kabbalah).

According to Kabbalistic tradition, knowledge was transmitted orally by the Patriarchs, prophets, and sages (Hakhamim in Hebrew), eventually to be "interwoven" into Jewish religious writings and culture. According to this tradition, Kabbalah was, in around the 10th century BC, an open knowledge practiced by over a million people in ancient Israel.[5]

Foreign conquests drove the Jewish spiritual leadership of the time (the Sanhedrin) to hide the knowledge and make it secret, fearing that it might be misused if it fell into the wrong hands.[6] The Sanhedrin leaders were also concerned that the practice of Kabbalah by Jews deported on conquest to other countries (the Diaspora), unsupervised and unguided by the masters, might lead them into wrong practice and forbidden ways. As a result, the Kabbalah became secretive, forbidden and esoteric to Judaism ("Torat Ha’Sod" תורת הסוד) for two and a half millennia.

It is hard to clarify with any degree of certainty the exact concepts within Kabbalah. There are several different schools of thought with very different outlooks; however, all are accepted as correct.[7] Modern Halakhic authorities have tried to narrow the scope and diversity within Kabbalah, by restricting study to certain texts, notably Zohar and the teachings of Isaac Luria as passed down through Chaim (Hayyim) Vital.[8] However even this qualification does little to limit the scope of understanding and expression, as included in those works are commentaries on Abulafian writings, Sefer Yetzirah, Albotonian writings, and the Berit Menuhah,[9] which is known to the kabbalistic elect and which, as described more recently by Scholem, combined ecstatic with theosophical mysticism. It is therefore important to bear in mind when discussing things such as the Sefirot and their interactions that one is dealing with highly abstract concepts that at best can only be understood intuitively.

Metaphorical representation of Divine emanation of successively constricted Olamot (spiritual Worlds) within the surrounding Ein Sof (Divine Infinity)

In Kabbalah all Creation unfolds from Divine reality. This view is found also in Rationalist Medieval Jewish philosophy (Hakira-"Investigation"), which offered a preceding, different approach to Jewish theology. However, the descriptions of Divinity in the two schools of thought differ, with Kabbalah elaborating a metaphysical structure of emanations from God, while Hakira investigates the ability to describe God beyond only negative descriptions. The Kabbalistic path, therefore, offers manifestations of Divinity that can be perceived in metaphorical anthropomorphic language, giving mystical dveikus (fervour) to the student. The two alternative approaches become united in intellectual articulations of Hasidic thought, from an inner perspective in Jewish mysticism.[11] The most important Medieval Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, famously summarised the Divine relation to Creation:


The foundation of all foundations, and the pillar of all wisdom is to know that there is God who brought into being all existence. All the beings of the heavens, and the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of God's being.[12]

There has been traditional debate about whether Maimonides studied Kabbalah. Historical Kabbalistic commentaries were written on his Guide for the Perplexed, revealing deeper mystical layers beyond the regular Rationalist school.[13] Jewish philosophy questioned the limits and meaning of Divine understanding from man's thought, in harmony with exoteric Scriptural exegesis. In Kabbalah ("Received") understanding derives from Oral Torah traditions of esoteric Scriptural exegesis. As a metaphysical alternative to Halachic exegesis in Talmudical hermeneutics, Kabbalah similarly demonstrates its concepts from interpretation of Biblical and Rabbinic texts. These then become systemised and investigated philosophically. With the end of the scholarly culture of Muslim Spain, and the later Jewish expulsion, Kabbalah replaced Hakirah as Judaism's mainstream theology.

In the Kabbalistic scheme, God is neither matter nor spirit, but is the creator of both. The question of the Divine nature prompted Kabbalists to envision two aspects of God: (a) God Himself, who is ultimately unknowable, and (b) the revealed aspect of God that created the universe, preserves the universe, and interacts with mankind. Kabbalists speak of the first aspect of God as Ein Sof (אין סוף); this is translated as "the infinite", "endless", or "that which has no limits". In this view, nothing can be said about the essence of God. This aspect of God is impersonal. The second aspect of Divine emanations, however, is at least partially accessible to human thought. Kabbalists believe that these two aspects are not contradictory but, through the mechanism of progressive emanation, complement one another (See Divine simplicity). The structure of these emanations has been characterized in various ways: Sefirot (Divine attributes) and Partzufim (Divine "faces"); Four Worlds of Creation in a Seder hishtalshelus (Descending Chain of realms), Azilut, Beriyah, Yitzirah, and Asiyah; the Biblical vision by Ezekiel of the Merkabah (Divine angelic "Chariot"). These alternatives are harmonized in subsequent Kabbalistic systemisation. The central metaphor of Ohr ("Light") is used to describe Divine emanations.

The Tetragrammaton in Phoenician (1100 B.C.E. to C.E. 300), Aramaic (10th Century B.C.E. to 0) and modern Hebrew scripts.

Medieval Kabbalists believed that all things are linked to God through these emanations, making all levels in Creation part of one great, gradually descending chain of being. Through this any lower creation reflects its particular characteristics in Supernal Divinity. These descriptions reached their synthesis in 16th century CE Cordoveran Kabbalah. This metaphysical explanation gave cosmic significance to the deeds of man, as the downward flow of the Divine "Light" that creates our reality, is opened or restricted according to the merits of each individual. Divine substenance in Creation is dependent on the traditional mitzvah observances of Judaism. Subsequent Kabbalah of Isaac Luria describes a radical origin to this depiction, where Creation unfolds from transcendent imbalance in Godliness, and the purpose of life is the Messianic rectification of Divinity by man. Once each person has completed their part of the rectification, the Messianic Era begins. In this, the mitzvot redeem the supernal Divine Sparks in existence. Later interpretations in Hasidism, such as by Schneur Zalman of Liadi, extend this radicalism by holding that God is all that really exists, all else being completely undifferentiated from God's perspective. This view can be defined as monistic panentheism. According to this philosophy, God's existence is higher than anything that this world can express, yet He includes all things of this world within His Divine reality in perfect unity, so that the Creation effected no change in Him at all. This paradox is dealt with at length in Habad texts.

The Sefirot (סְפִירוֹת — singular Sefirah סְפִירָה) are the ten emanations and attributes of God with which He continually sustains the universe in existence. The word "sefirah" literally means "counting", but early Kabbalists presented a number of other etymological possibilities including: sefer (book), sippur (story), sappir (sapphire, brilliance, luminary), separ (boundary), and safra (scribe). The term sefirah thus has complex connotations within Kabbalah.[15] The central metaphor of Man's soul is used to describe the Sefirot. This incorporates masculine and feminine aspects, after Genesis 1:27 ("God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them"). Corresponding to the last Sefirah in Creation is the indwelling Shechina (Feminine Divine Presence). In the Sefirot, performance of Mitzvot (traditional Jewish observances) unites the masculine and feminine aspects of supernal Divinity, and brings harmony to Creation. The description of Divine manifestation through the 10 Sefirot is a defining feature of Medieval Kabbalah, alongside their male and female aspects, and the concept of downward flow of Divine Light through the chain of Creation. The Sefirot correspond to the Four Worlds of this spiritual descent, Atziluth, Beri'ah, Yetzirah and Assiah.

Ten Sefirot as process of Creation

According to Lurianic cosmology, the Sefirot correspond to various levels of creation (ten sefirot in each of the Four Worlds, and four worlds within each of the larger four worlds, each containing ten sefirot, which themselves contain ten sefirot, to an infinite number of possibilities),[16] and are emanated from the Creator for the purpose of creating the universe. The Sefirot are considered revelations of the Creator's will (ratzon),[17] and they should not be understood as ten different "gods" but as ten different ways the one God reveals His will through the Emanations. It is not God who changes but the ability to perceive God that changes.

Divine creation by means of the Ten Sefirot is an ethical process. They represent the different aspects of Morality. Loving-Kindness is a possible moral justification found in Chessed, and Gevurah is the Moral Justification of Justice and both are mediated by Mercy which is Rachamim. However, these pillars of morality become immoral once they become extremes. When Loving-Kindness become extreme it can lead to sexual depravity and lack of Justice to the wicked. When Justice becomes extreme, it can lead to torture and the Murder of innocents and unfair punishment.

"Righteous" humans (Tzadikim) ascend these ethical qualities of the Ten Sefirot by doing righteous actions. If there were no "Righteous" humans, the blessings of God would become completely hidden, and creation would cease to exist. While real human actions are the "Foundation" (Yesod) of this universe (Malchut), these actions must accompany the conscious intention of compassion. Compassionate actions are often impossible without "Faith" (Emunah), meaning to trust that God always supports compassionate actions even when God seems hidden. Ultimately, it is necessary to show compassion toward oneself too in order to share compassion toward others. This "selfish" enjoyment of God's blessings but only in order to empower oneself to assist others, is an important aspect of "Restriction", and is considered a kind of golden mean in Kabbalah, corresponding to the Sefirah of "Adornment" (Tiferet) being part of the "Middle Column".

Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, wrote a book, Tomer Devorah (Palm Tree of Deborah), in which he presents an ethical teaching of Judaism in the kabbalistic context of the Ten Sefirot. Tomer Devorah, as a consequence, has become also a foundational Musar text.

The Kabbalah posits that the human soul has three elements, the nefesh, ru'ach, and neshamah. The nefesh is found in all humans, and enters the physical body at birth. It is the source of one's physical and psychological nature. The next two parts of the soul are not implanted at birth, but can be developed over time; their development depends on the actions and beliefs of the individual. They are said to only fully exist in people awakened spiritually. A common way of explaining the three parts of the soul is as follows:

The Raaya Meheimna, a section of related teachings spread throughout the Zohar, discusses fourth and fifth parts of the human soul, the chayyah and yehidah (first mentioned in the Midrash Rabbah). Gershom Scholem writes that these "were considered to represent the sublimest levels of intuitive cognition, and to be within the grasp of only a few chosen individuals". The Chayyah and the Yechidah do not enter into the body like the other three—thus they received less attention in other sections of the Zohar.

Both rabbinic and kabbalistic works posit that there are a few additional, non-permanent states of the soul that people can develop on certain occasions. These extra souls, or extra states of the soul, play no part in any afterlife scheme, but are mentioned for completeness:

Tzimtzum is the primordial cosmic act whereby God "contracted" His infinite light, leaving a "void" into which the light of existence was poured. This new doctrine of Isaac Luria in the 16th century gave a new organization of the previous Second-Temple and Medieval Kabbalistic concepts of Angelic hierarchies and descending Worlds. The primal emanation after the Tzimtzum in Lurianic Kabbalah led to an initial catastrophe called "Tohu" (Chaos). This was reformed into "Tikkun olam" (Rectification) of our spiritual realms, described in previous Kabbalah, becoming Atzilut (the World of Emanation), from which the three lower Worlds, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, descended. This corresponds to the reorganization of the Sefirot into the Partsufim described in previous Kabbalah. The Tzimtzum reconciles the infinite simplicity of the Ein Sof with the finite plurality of Creation. From the subsequent catastrophe stems the possibility of self-aware Creation, and also the Kelipot (impure "shells" in Medieval Kabbalah). Kabbalah teaches that every Hebrew letter, word, number, even the accent on words of the Hebrew Bible contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these meanings. One such method is as follows:

As early as the 1st century BCE Jews believed that the Torah (first five books of the Hebrew Bible) and wider canonical texts contained encoded messages and hidden meanings. Gematria is one method for discovering its hidden meanings. Each letter in Hebrew also represents a number; Hebrew, unlike many other languages, never developed a separate numerical alphabet. By converting letters to numbers, Kabbalists were able to find a hidden meaning in each word. This method of interpretation was used extensively by various schools.

Jewish forms of esotericism existed over 2,000 years ago. Ben Sira (born c. 170 BCE) warns against it, saying: "You shall have no business with secret things".[20] Nonetheless, mystical studies were undertaken and resulted in mystical literature, the first being the Apocalyptic literature of the second and first pre-Christian centuries and which contained elements that carried over to later Kabbalah.

Throughout the centuries since, many texts have been produced, among them the ancient descriptions of Sefer Yetzirah, the Heichalot mystical ascent literature, the Bahir, Sefer Raziel HaMalakh and the Zohar, the main text of Kabbalistic exegesis. Classic mystical Bible commentaries are included in fuller versions of the Mikraot Gedolot (Main Commentators). Cordoveran systemisation is presented in Pardes Rimonim, philosophical articulation in the works of the Maharal, and Lurianic rectification in Etz Chayim. Subsequent interpretation of Lurianic Kabbalah was made in the writings of Shalom Sharabi, in Nefesh HaChaim and the 20th century Sulam. Hasidism interpreted Kabbalistic structures to their correspondence in inward perception.[21] The Hasidic development of Kabbalah incorporates a successive stage of Jewish mysticism from historical Kabbalistic metaphysics. Historians have noted that most claims for the authority of Kabbalah involve an argument of the antiquity of authority (see, e.g., Joseph Dan's discussion in his Circle of the Unique Cherub). As a result, virtually all works pseudepigraphically claim, or are ascribed, ancient authorship. For example, Sefer Raziel HaMalach, an astro-magical text partly based on a magical manual of late antiquity, Sefer ha-Razim, was, according to the kabbalists, transmitted to Adam by the angel Raziel after he was evicted from Eden.

Another famous work, the Sefer Yetzirah, supposedly dates back to the patriarch Abraham. This tendency toward pseudepigraphy has its roots in Apocalyptic literature, which claims that esoteric knowledge such as magic, divination and astrology was transmitted to humans in the mythic past by the two angels, Aza and Azaz'el (in other places, Azaz'el and Uzaz'el) who 'fell' from heaven (see Genesis 6:4).

Although Kabbalah propounds the Unity of God, one of the most serious and sustained criticisms is that it may lead away from monotheism, and instead promote dualism, the belief that there is a supernatural counterpart to God. The dualistic system holds that there is a good power versus an evil power. There are two primary models of Gnostic-dualistic cosmology: the first, which goes back to Zoroastrianism, believes creation is ontologically divided between good and evil forces; the second, found largely in Greco-Roman ideologies like Neo-Platonism, believes the universe knew a primordial harmony, but that a cosmic disruption yielded a second, evil, dimension to reality. This second model influenced the cosmology of the Kabbalah.

According to Kabbalistic cosmology, the Ten Sefirot correspond to ten levels of creation. These levels of creation must not be understood as ten different "gods" but as ten different ways of revealing God, one per level. It is not God who changes but the ability to perceive God that changes.

While God may seem to exhibit dual natures (masculine-feminine, compassionate-judgmental, creator-creation), all adherents of Kabbalah have consistently stressed the ultimate unity of God. For example, in all discussions of Male and Female, the hidden nature of God exists above it all without limit, being called the Infinite or the "No End" (Ein Sof)—neither one nor the other, transcending any definition. The ability of God to become hidden from perception is called "Restriction" (Tzimtzum). Hiddenness makes creation possible because God can become "revealed" in a diversity of limited ways, which then form the building blocks of creation.

Kabbalistic texts, including the Zohar, appear to affirm dualism, as they ascribe all evil to the separation from holiness known as the Sitra Achra[26] ("the other side") which is opposed to Sitra D’Kedushah, or the Side of Holiness.[27] The "left side" of divine emanation is a negative mirror image of the "side of holiness" with which it was locked in combat. [Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 6, "Dualism", p. 244]. While this evil aspect exists within the divine structure of the Sefirot, the Zohar indicates that the Sitra Ahra has no power over Ein Sof, and only exists as a necessary aspect of the creation of God to give man free choice, and that evil is the consequence of this choice. It is not a supernatural force opposed to God, but a reflection of the inner moral combat within mankind between the dictates of morality and the surrender to one's basic instincts.

Rabbi Dr. David Gottlieb notes that many Kabbalists hold that the concepts of, e.g., a Heavenly Court or the Sitra Ahra are only given to humanity by God as a working model to understand His ways within our own epistemological limits. They reject the notion that a satan or angels actually exist. Others hold that non-divine spiritual entities were indeed created by God as a means for exacting his will.

According to Kabbalists, humans cannot yet understand the infinity of God. Rather, there is God as revealed to humans (corresponding to Zeir Anpin), and the rest of the infinity of God as remaining hidden from human experience (corresponding to Arich Anpin).[28] One reading of this theology is monotheistic, similar to panentheism; another reading of the same theology is that it is dualistic. Gershom Scholem writes: It is clear that with this postulate of an impersonal basic reality in God, which becomes a person—or appears as a person—only in the process of Creation and Revelation, Kabbalism abandons the personalistic basis of the Biblical conception of God....It will not surprise us to find that speculation has run the whole gamut—from attempts to re-transform the impersonal En-Sof into the personal God of the Bible to the downright heretical doctrine of a genuine dualism between the hidden Ein Sof and the personal Demiurge of Scripture.
 — Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism Shocken Books (p.11–12)

 Many Kabbalistic sources contain statements to the effect that the Jewish soul is ontologically different from the soul of non-Jews; for example, it is held by some that Jews have three levels of soul, nefesh, ruach and neshamah while non-Jews have only nefesh. The Zohar comments on the Biblical verse which states "Let the waters teem with swarms of creatures that have a living soul" as follows: "The verse 'creatures that have a living soul,' pertains to the Jews, for they are the children of God, and from God come their holy souls....And the souls of the other nations, from where do they come? Rabbi Elazar says that they have souls from the impure left side, and therefore they are all impure, defiling anyone who comes near them" (Zohar commentary on Genesis).

Such theologically framed hostility may have been a response to some medieval demonization of Jews which developed in some parts of Western and Christian society and thought, starting with the Patristic writings. According to Isaac Luria and other commentators on the Zohar, righteous Gentiles do not have this demonic aspect and are in many ways similar to Jewish souls. A number of prominent Kabbalists, e.g. Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu of Vilna, the author of Sefer ha-Brit, held that only some marginal elements in the humanity represent these demonic forces. On the other hand, the souls of Jewish heretics have much more satanic energy than the worst of idol worshippers; this view is popular in some Hasidic circles, especially Satmar Hasidim.

Some later Kabbalistic works build and elaborate on these ideas. One point of view is represented by the Hasidic work Tanya, which stresses the uniqueness of the Jewish soul, in order to argue that Jews have an additional level of soul. While a non-Jew, according to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, can achieve a high level of spiritually, similar to an angel, his soul is still fundamentally different in character, but not value, from a Jewish one. A similar view is found in Yehuda Halevi's medieval philosophical book Kuzari.

On the other hand, many prominent Kabbalists rejected this idea and believed in essential equality of all human souls. Menahem Azariah da Fano, in his book Reincarnations of souls, provides many examples of non-Jewish Biblical figures being reincarnated into Jews and vice versa; the contemporary Habad Rabbi and mystic Dov Ber Pinson teaches that seemingly discriminatory statements in the Tanya and other Kabbalistic works are not to be understood literally.

Another prominent Habad Rabbi, Abraham Yehudah Khein, believed that spiritually elevated Gentiles have essentially Jewish souls, "who just lack the formal conversion to Judaism", and that unspiritual Jews are "Jewish merely by their birth documents". The great 20th century Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag viewed the terms "Jews" and "Gentile" as different levels of perception, available to every human soul.

David Halperin argues that the collapse of Kabbalah's influence among Western European Jews over the course of the 17th and 18th century was a result of the cognitive dissonance they experienced between the negative perception of Gentiles found in some exponents of Kabbalah, and their own positive dealings with non-Jews, which were rapidly expanding and improving during this period due to the influence of the Enlightenment.

However, a number of renown Kabbalists claimed the exact opposite. In their view, Kabbalah transcends the borders of Judaism and can serve as a basis of inter-religious theosophy and a universal religion. Rabbi Pinchas Elijah Hurwitz, a prominent Lithuanian-Galician Kabbalist of the 18th century and a moderate proponent of the Haskalah, called for brotherly love and solidarity between all nations, and believed that Kabbalah can empower everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, with prophetic abilities.[34]

The works of Abraham Cohen de Herrera are full of references to Gentile mystical philosophers. Such approach was particularly common among the Renaissance and post-Renaissance Italian Jews. A number of Italian Kabbalists, e.g. Yohanan Alemanno, David Messer Leon and Abraham Yagel, adhered to humanistic ideals and incorporated teachings of various Christian and pagan mystics.

A prime representative of this humanist stream in Kabbalah was Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh, who explicitly praised Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, as well as a whole range of ancient pagan mystical systems. He believed that Kabbalah can reconcile the differences between the world religions, which represent different facets and stages of the universal human spirituality. In his writings, Benamozegh interprets the New Testament, Hadith, Vedas, Avesta and pagan mysteries according to the Kabbalistic theosophy.

For a different perspective, see Wolfson. He provides numerous examples from the 17th to the 20th centuries, which would challenge the view of Halperin cited above as well as the notion that "modern Judaism" has rejected or dismissed this "outdated aspect" of the religion and, he argues, there are still Kabbalists today who harbor this view. He argues that, while it is accurate to say that many Jews do and would find this distinction offensive, it is inaccurate to say that the idea has been totally rejected in all circles. As Wolfson has argued, it is an ethical demand on the part of scholars to continue to be vigilant with regard to this matter and in this way the tradition can be refined from within.

However, as explained above, many well known Kabbalists rejected the literal interpretation of these seemingly discriminatory views. They argued that the term "Jew" was to be interpreted metaphorically, as referring to the spiritual development of the soul, rather than the superficial denomination of the individual, and they added a chain of intermediary states between "Jews" and idol worshippers, or spiritualized the very definition of "Jews" and "non-Jews" and argued that a soul can be re-incarnated in different communities (whether Jewish or not) as much as within a single one. The idea that there are ten divine sefirot could evolve over time into the idea that "God is One being, yet in that One being there are Ten" which opens up a debate about what the "correct beliefs" in God should be, according to Judaism.

Rabbi Saadia Gaon teaches in his book Emunot v'Deot that Jews who believe in reincarnation have adopted a non-Jewish belief.

Maimonides (12th century) rejected many of the texts of the Hekalot, particularly Shi'ur Qomah whose starkly anthropomorphic vision of God he considered heretical.

Nachmanides (13th century) provides background to many Kabbalistic ideas. His works, especially those in the Five books of Moses (Pentateuch) offer in-depth of various concepts.

Rabbi Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon, in the spirit of his father Maimonides, Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, and other predecessors, explains at length in his book Milhhamot HaShem that the Almighty is in no way literally within time or space nor physically outside time or space, since time and space simply do not apply to His Being whatsoever. This is in contrast to certain popular understandings of modern Kabbalah which teach a form of panentheism, that His 'essence' is within everything.

Around the 1230s, Rabbi Meir ben Simon of Narbonne wrote an epistle (included in his Milhhemet Mitzvah) against his contemporaries, the early Kabbalists, characterizing them as blasphemers who even approach heresy. He particularly singled out the Sefer Bahir, rejecting the attribution of its authorship to the tanna R. Nehhunya ben ha-Kanah and describing some of its content as truly heretical.

Rabbi Yitzchak ben Sheshet Perfet (The Rivash), 1326–1408. Although as is evident from his response on the topic (157) the Rivash was skeptical of certain interpretations of Kabbalah popular in his time, it is equally evident that overall he did accept Kabbalah as received Jewish wisdom, and attempted to defend it from attackers. To this end he cited and rejected a certain philosopher who claimed that Kabbalah was "worse than Christianity", as it made God into 10, not just into three. Most followers of Kabbalah have never followed this interpretation of Kabbalah, on the grounds that the concept of the Christian Trinity posits that there are three persons existing within the Godhead, one of whom became a human being. In contrast, the mainstream understanding of the Kabbalistic Sefirot holds that they have no mind or intelligence; further, they are not addressed in prayer and they cannot become a human being. They are conduits for interaction, not persons or beings. Nonetheless, many important poskim, such as Maimonidies in his work Mishneh Torah, prohibit any use of mediators between oneself and the Creator as a form of idolatry.

Rabbi Leone di Modena, a 17th century Venetian critic of Kabbalah, wrote that if we were to accept the Kabbalah, then the Christian trinity would indeed be compatible with Judaism, as the Trinity closely resembles the Kabbalistic doctrine of the Sefirot. This critique was in response to the knowledge that some European Jews of the period addressed individual Sefirot in some of their prayers, although the practise was apparently uncommon. Apologists explain that Jews may have been praying for and not necessarily to the aspects of Godliness represented by the Sefirot.

Rabbi Yaakov Emden, 1697–1776, wrote the book Mitpahhath Sfarim (Veil of the Books), a detailed critique of the Zohar in which he concludes that certain parts of the Zohar contain heretical teaching and therefore could not have been written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Opponents of his work claim[citation needed] that he wrote the book in a drunken stupor. Emden's rationalistic approach to this work, however, makes neither intoxication nor stupor seem plausible.

Rabbi Yihhyah Qafahh, an early 20th century Yemenite Jewish leader and grandfather of Rabbi Yosef Qafih, also wrote a book entitled Milhhamoth HaShem (Wars of the L-RD) against what he perceived as the false teachings of the Zohar and the false Kabbalah of Isaac Luria. He is credited with spearheading the Dor Daim who continue in R. Yihhyah Qafahh's view of Kabbalah into modern times.

Orthodox Judaism

Yeshayahu Leibowitz 1903–1994, brother of Nechama Leibowitz, though Modern Orthodox in his world view, publicly shared the views expressed in R. Yihhyah Qafahh's book Milhhamoth HaShem and elaborated upon these views in his many writings.

There is dispute among modern Haredim as to the status of Isaac Luria's, the Arizal's Kabbalistic teachings. While a portion of Modern Orthodox Rabbis, Dor Daim and many students of the Rambam, completely reject Arizal's Kabbalistic teachings, as well as deny that the Zohar is authoritative, or from Shimon bar Yohai, all three of these groups completely accept the existence and validity of Ma'aseh Merkavah and Ma'aseh B'resheet mysticism. Their only disagreement concerns whether the Kabbalistic teachings promulgated today are accurate representations of those esoteric teachings to which the Talmud refers. Within the Haredi Jewish community one can find both rabbis who sympathize with such a view,[citation needed] while not necessarily agreeing with it, as well as rabbis who consider such a view absolute heresy.

Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism

Kabbalah tended to be rejected by most Jews in the Conservative and Reform movements, though its influences were not completely eliminated. While it was generally not studied as a discipline, the Kabbalistic Kabbalat Shabbat service remained part of liberal liturgy, as did the Yedid Nefesh prayer. Nevertheless, in the 1960s, Rabbi Saul Lieberman of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America is reputed to have introduced a lecture by Scholem on Kabbalah with a statement that Kabbalah itself was "nonsense", but the academic study of Kabbalah was "scholarship". This view became popular among many Jews, who viewed the subject as worthy of study, but who did not accept Kabbalah as teaching literal truths.

According to Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson (Dean of the Conservative Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in the American Jewish University)

Many western Jews insisted that their future and their freedom required shedding what they perceived as parochial orientalism. They fashioned a Judaism that was decorous and strictly rational (according to 19th-century European standards), denigrating Kabbalah as backward, superstitious, and marginal.[37]

However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century there has been a revival in interest in Kabbalah in all branches of liberal Judaism. The Kabbalistic 12th century prayer Anim Zemirot was restored to the new Conservative Sim Shalom siddur, as was the B'rikh Shmeh passage from the Zohar, and the mystical Ushpizin service welcoming to the Sukkah the spirits of Jewish forbearers. Anim Zemirot and the 16th century mystical poem Lekhah Dodi reappeared in the Reform Siddur Gates of Prayer in 1975. All Rabbinical seminaries now teach several courses in Kabbalah—in Conservative Judaism, both the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles have fulltime instructors in Kabbalah and Hasidut, Eitan Fishbane and Pinchas Geller, respectively. In the Reform movement Sharon Koren teaches at the Hebrew Union College. Reform Rabbis like Herbert Weiner and Lawrence Kushner have renewed interest in Kabbalah among Reform Jews. At the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the only accredited seminary that has curricular requirements in Kabbalah, Joel Hecker is the fulltime instructor teaching courses in Kabbalah and Hasidut.

Origins of Judaic mysticism

According to the traditional understanding, Kabbalah dates from Eden.[ It came down from a remote past as a revelation to elect Tzadikim (righteous people), and, for the most part, was preserved only by a privileged few. Talmudic Judaism records its view of the proper protocol for teaching this wisdom, as well as many of its concepts, in the Talmud, Tractate Hagigah, Ch.2.

Contemporary scholarship suggests that various schools of Jewish esotericism arose at different periods of Jewish history, each reflecting not only prior forms of mysticism, but also the intellectual and cultural milieu of that historical period. Answers to questions of transmission, lineage, influence, and innovation vary greatly and cannot be easily summarized.

Origins of terms

Originally, Kabbalistic knowledge was believed to be an integral part of the Judaism's oral law (see also Aggadah), given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai around 13th century BCE, though there is a view that Kabbalah began with Adam.

When the Israelites arrived at their destination and settled in Canaan, for a few centuries the esoteric knowledge was referred to by its aspect practice—meditation Hitbonenut (Hebrew: התבוננות), Rebbe Nachman of Breslov's Hitbodedut (Hebrew: התבודדות), translated as "being alone" or "isolating oneself", or by a different term describing the actual, desired goal of the practice—prophecy ("NeVu’a" Hebrew: נבואה).

During the 5th century BCE, when the works of the Tanakh were edited and canonized and the secret knowledge encrypted within the various writings and scrolls ("Megilot"), the knowledge was referred to as Ma'aseh Merkavah (Hebrew: מעשה מרכבה), and Ma'aseh B'reshit (Hebrew: מעשה בראשית), respectively "the act of the Chariot" and "the act of Creation". Merkavah mysticism alluded to the encrypted knowledge within the book of the prophet Ezekiel describing his vision of the "Divine Chariot". B'reshit mysticism referred to the first chapter of Genesis (Hebrew: בראשית) in the Torah that is believed to contain secrets of the creation of the universe and forces of nature. These terms are also mentioned in the second chapter of the Talmudic tractate Haggigah.

Mystic elements of the Torah

Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic Chariot and Divine Throne. Later Kabbalah relates their narratives to the Four Worlds. In Judaism the only permitted images of angels was on the Ark of the Covenant

According to adherents of Kabbalah, its origin begins with secrets that God revealed to Adam. According to a rabbinic midrash[citation needed] God created the universe through the Ten Sefirot. When read by later generations of Kabbalists, the Torah's description of the creation in the Book of Genesis reveals mysteries about the godhead itself, the true nature of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life, as well as the interaction of these supernal entities with the Serpent which leads to disaster when they eat the forbidden fruit, as recorded in Genesis 2.

The Bible provides ample additional material for mythic and mystical speculation. The prophet Ezekiel's visions in particular attracted much mystical speculation, as did Isaiah's Temple vision—Isaiah, Ch.6. Jacob's vision of the ladder to heaven provided another example of esoteric experience. Moses' encounters with the Burning bush and God on Mount Sinai are evidence of mystical events in the Tanakh that form the origin of Jewish mystical beliefs.

The 72 letter name of God which is used in Jewish mysticism for meditation purposes is derived from the Hebrew verbal utterance Moses spoke in the presence of an angel, while the Sea of Reeds parted, allowing the Hebrews to escape their approaching attackers. The miracle of the Exodus, which led to Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and the Jewish Orthodox view of the acceptance of the Torah at Mount Sinai, preceded the creation of the first Jewish nation approximately three hundred years before King Saul.

Early Modern era: Lurianic Kabbalah

The mystical community in 16th century Safed invigorated wider Judaism with its Cordoveran synthesis and Lurianic reorganization. Following the upheavals and dislocations in the Jewish world as a result of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and the trauma of Anti-Semitism during the Middle Ages, Jews began to search for signs of when the long-awaited Jewish Messiah would come to comfort them in their painful exiles. Moses Cordovero and his immediate circle popularized the teachings of the Zohar which had until then been only a modestly influential work. The author of the Shulkhan Arukh (the Jewish "Code of Law"), Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488–1575), was also a great scholar of Kabbalah and spread its teachings during this era.

As part of that "search for meaning" in their lives, Kabbalah received its biggest boost in the Jewish world with the explication of the Kabbalistic teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534–1572) by his disciples Rabbi Hayim Vital and Rabbi Israel Sarug, both of whom published Luria's teachings (in variant forms) gaining them widespread popularity. Luria's teachings came to rival the influence of the Zohar and Luria stands, alongside Moses de Leon, as the most influential mystic in Jewish history.

I have found it written that all that has been decreed Above forbidding open involvement in the Wisdom of Truth [Kabbalah] was [only meant for] the limited time period until the year 5,250 (1490 C.E.). From then on after is called the "Last Generation", and what was forbidden is [now] allowed. And permission is granted to occupy ourselves in the [study of] Zohar. And from the year 5,300 (1540 C.E.) it is most desirable that the masses both those great and small [in Torah], should occupy themselves [in the study of Kabbalah], as it says in the Raya M'hemna [a section of the Zohar]. And because in this merit King Mashiach will come in the future—and not in any other merit—it is not proper to be discouraged [from the study of Kabbalah]. (Rabbi Avraham Azulai).

From the year 1540 and onward, the basic levels of Kabbalah must be taught publicly to everyone, young and old. Only through Kabbalah will we forever eliminate war, destruction, and man's inhumanity to his fellow man.[50]

The lines concerning 1490 are also missing from the Hebrew edition of Hesed L'Avraham, the source work that both of these quote from. Furthermore by Azulai's view the ban was lifted thirty years before his birth. A time that would have corresponded with Rabbi Haim Vital's publication of the teaching of Isaac Luria. Furthermore Rabbi Moshe Isserles only understood there to be a minor restriction, in his words, "One's belly must be full of meat and wine, discerning between the prohibited and the permitted."  He is supported by the Bier Hetiv, the Pithei Teshuva as well as the Vilna Gaon. The Vilna Gaon says: There was never any ban or enactment restricting the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah. Any who says there is has never studied Kabbalah, has never seen PaRDeS, and speaks as an ignoramous.

Failure of Sabbatian Mysticism

The spiritual and mystical yearnings of many Jews remained frustrated after the death of Rabbi Isaac Luria and his disciples and colleagues. No hope was in sight for many following the devastation and mass killings of the pogroms that followed in the wake the Chmielnicki Uprising (1648–1654), and it was at this time that a controversial scholar of the Kabbalah by the name of Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676) captured the hearts and minds of the Jewish masses of that time with the promise of a newly minted "Messianic" Millennialism in the form of his own personage.

His charisma, mystical teachings that included repeated pronunciations of the holy Tetragrammaton in public, tied to an unstable personality, and with the help of his own "prophet" Nathan of Gaza, convinced the Jewish masses that the "Jewish Messiah" had finally come. It seemed that the esoteric teachings of Kabbalah had found their "champion" and had triumphed, but this era of Jewish history unravelled when Zevi became an apostate to Judaism by converting to Islam after he was arrested by the Ottoman Sultan and threatened with execution for attempting a plan to conquer the world and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

Many of his followers, known as Sabbatians, continued to worship him in secret, explaining his conversion not as an effort to save his life but to recover the sparks of the holy in each religion, and most leading rabbis were always on guard to root them out. The Donmeh movement in modern Turkey is a surviving remnant of the Sabbatian schism.

Due to the chaos caused in the Jewish world, the Rabbinic prohibition against studying Kabbalah was well intact again, and established itself firmly within the Jewish religion. One of the conditions allowing a man to study and engage himself in the Kabbalah was to be of age forty. This age requirement came about during this period and is not Talmudic in origin but Rabbinic. Many Jews are familiar with this ruling, but are not aware of its origins. Moreover, the prohibition is not halakhic in nature. According to Moses Cordovero, halakhically, one must be of age twenty to engage in the Kabbalah. Many famous Kabbalists, including the ARI, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, The Sabbatian movement was followed by that of the "Frankists" who were disciples of another pseudo-mystic Jacob Frank (1726–1791) who eventually became an apostate to Judaism by apparently converting to Catholicism. This era of disappointment did not stem the Jewish masses' yearnings for "mystical" leadership.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, were younger than twenty when they began.

The Sabbatian movement was followed by that of the "Frankists" who were disciples of another pseudo-mystic Jacob Frank (1726–1791) who eventually became an apostate to Judaism by apparently converting to Catholicism. This era of disappointment did not stem the Jewish masses' yearnings for "mystical" leadership. The 18th century saw an explosion of new efforts in the writing and spread of Kabbalah by four well known rabbis working in different areas of Europe:

Here some answers:

Q1.1 : What is Kabbalah?

Kabbalah is an aspect of Jewish mysticism. It consists of a large body of speculation on the nature of divinity, the creation, the origin and fate of the soul, and the role of human beings. It consists also of meditative, devotional, mystical and magical practices which were taught only to a select few and for this reason Kabbalah is regarded as an esoteric offshoot of Judaism. Some aspects of Kabbalah have been studied and used by non-Jews for several hundred years - see What is Hermetic Kabbalah.

Q1.2 : What does the word "Kabbalah" mean, and how should I spell it?

The word "Kabbalah" is derived from the root "to receive, to accept", and in many cases is used synonymously with "tradition".

No-one with the slightest interest in Kabbalah can fail to notice that there are many alternative spellings of the word, the two most common being Kabbalah and Qabalah. Cabala, Qaballah, Qabala, Kaballah (and so on) are also seen. The reason for this is that some letters in the Hebrew alphabet have more than one representation in the English alphabet, and the same Hebrew letter can be written either as K or Q (or sometimes even C). Some authors choose one spelling, and some choose the other. Some (the author for example) will even mix Q and K in the same document, spelling Kabbalah and Qlippoth (as opposed to Qabalah and Klippoth!). A random selection of modern Hebrew phrase books and dictionaries use the K variant to represent the letter Kuf, so anyone who claims that the "correct" spelling is "Qabalah" is on uncertain ground.

There has been a tendency for non-Jewish books on Kabbalah published this century to use the spelling "Qabalah". Jewish publications are relatively uniform in preferring the spelling "Kabbalah". The author takes the view (based on experience) that the spelling "Kabbalah" is recognised by a wider selection of people than the "Qabalah" variant, and for this purely pragmatic reason it is used throughout the FAQ.

Q1.3 : What is the "Tradition"?

According to Jewish tradition, the Torah (Torah - "Law" - the first five books of the Old Testament) was created prior to the world and she advised God on such weighty matters as the creation of human kind. When Moses received the written law from God, tradition has it that he also received the oral law, which was not written down, but passed from generation to generation. At times the oral law has been referred to as "Kabbalah" - the oral tradition.

The Torah was (and is) believed to be divine, and in the same way as the Torah was accompanied by an oral tradition, so there grew up a secret oral tradition which claimed to possess an initiated understanding of the Torah, its hidden meanings, and the divine power concealed within it. This is a principle root of the Kabbalistic tradition, a belief in the divinity of the Torah, and a belief that by studying this text one can unlock the secrets of the creation.

Another aspect of Jewish religion which influenced Kabbalah was the Biblical phenomenon of prophecy. The prophet was an individual chosen by God as a mouthpiece, and there was the implication that God, far from being a transcendental abstraction, was a being whom one could approach (albeit with enormous difficulty, risk, fear and trembling). Some Kabbalists believed that they were the inheritors of practical techniques handed down from the time of the Biblical prophets, and it is not impossible or improbable that this was in fact the case.

These two threads, one derived from the study of the Torah, the other derived from practical attempts to approach God, form the roots from which the Kabbalistic tradition developed.

Q1.4 : How old is Kabbalah?

No-one knows. The earliest documents which are generally acknowledged as being Kabbalistic come from the 1st. Century C.E., but there is a suspicion that the Biblical phenomenon of prophecy may have been grounded in a much older oral tradition which was a precursor to the earliest recognisable forms of Kabbalah. Some believe the tradition goes back as far as Melchizedek. There are moderately plausible arguments that Pythagoras received his learning from Hebrew sources. There is a substantial literature of Jewish mysticism dating from the period 100AD - 1000AD which is not strictly Kabbalistic in the modern sense, but which was available as source material to medieval Kabbalists.

On the basis of a detailed examination of texts, and a study of the development of a specialist vocabulary and a distinct body of ideas, Scholem has concluded that the origins of Kabbalah can be traced to 12th. century Provence. The origin of the word "Kabbalah" as a label for a tradition which is definitely recognisable as Kabbalah is attributed to Isaac the Blind (c. 1160-1236 C.E.), who is also credited with being the originator of the idea of sephirothic emanation.

Prior to this (and after) a wide variety of terms were used for those who studied the tradition: "masters of mystery", "men of belief", "masters of knowledge", "those who know", "those who know grace", "children of faith", "children of the king's palace", "those who know wisdom", "those who reap the field", "those who have entered and left".

Q1.5 Do I need to be Jewish to study Kabbalah?

Some aspects of traditional Kabbalah are so deeply intertwined with Jewish religious beliefs and practice that they are meaningless outside of this content. Other aspects of Kabbalah (what I refer to below as Hermetic Kabbalah) have been studied and practiced outside of Judaism for so long that they have a distinct identity in their own right, and no, you do not have to be Jewish to study them, any more than you need to be English to study the Law of Gravitation. However, if you choose to study Kabbalah by name you should recognise that Kabbalah was and is a part of Judaism, and an important part of the history of Jewish people, and respect the beliefs which not only gave rise to Kabbalah, but which are still an essential part of Jewish faith..

Q1.6 : Is there an Obstacle to a Woman studying Kabbalah?

Within Judaism the answer is a resounding "Yes!": there are many obstacles. Perle Epstein relates some of her feelings on the subject in her book on Kabbalah (see the Reading List below). The obstacles are largely grounded in traditional attitudes: it is less easy for a woman to find a Rabbi prepared to teach Kabbalah than it would be for a man. Persistence may reward (see below). Outside of Judaism the answer is a resounding "No!": there are no obstacles. For the past one hundred years women have been active both in studying and in teaching Kabbalah.

Q1.7 : I've heard that one shouldn't study Kabbalah unless one is over forty years old? Is this true?

The great Kabbalist R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572), began the study of Kabbalah at the age of seventeen and died at the age of thirty-eight! His equally famous contemporary R. Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) began at the age of twenty. Many other famous Kabbalists also began the study early.

This prohibition has come from Ashkenazic (East European) Jews and has never applied to Sepharidic (Middle Eastern) Jews. The historical basis for the "rule" comes from opponents of Kabbalah within Judaism who (successfully) attempted to restrict its study. At the root of this was the heresy of false messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (17th. C) which resulted in large numbers of Jews leaving the orthodox fold. This heresy had deep Kabbalistic underpinnings, and in the attempt to stamp out Shabbateanism, Kabbalah itself became suspect, and specific prohibitions against the study of Kabbalah were enacted (e.g. the excommunication of the Frankists in Poland in 1756).

A further factor was the degeneration (in the eyes of their rationalist opponents) of 18th. century Hasidism, which had roots both in Kabbalah and Shabbateanism, into "wonder working" and superstition. The rationalist faction in Judaism triumphed, and the study of Kabbalah became largely discredited, to the extent that many Jewish publications written earlier in this century discuss Kabbalah (if at all) in a very negative way.

Greg Burton has supplied this (mildly amusing) post from America OnLine, from a Rabbi Ariel Bar-Zadok: " One thing I assure you, I am not a "new ager", nor am I sympathetic to anything that is not pure, authoritative Kabbalah. Remember, Kabbalah means "to receive". I am an Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi, ordained in Jerusalem. I teach only from the true texts, many of which most Rabbis for whatever reasons have never read. I document all my sources so as to verify to you that these teachings are authentic. (I must also admit that I have studied other religious and meditative systems, in this way I feel comfortable and confident to discuss them). My classes are open to all, Jew and Benei Noah alike, men and women, (in accordance to Tana D'vei Eliyahu, Eliyahu Raba, Chapter 9). By the way, according to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabi Ovadiah Yosef (Yehaveh Da'at 4,47) quoting Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, one only has to be 20 years old to study Kabbala, and not 40. THIS IS THE HALAKHA!!"

This still leaves R.Isaac Luria looking embarrassed, but R. Moses Cordevero scrapes in under the bar ;-)

Q1.8 : Do I need to learn Hebrew to study Kabbalah?

A Jewish Kabbalist would maintain that it is impossible to study Kabbalah without knowing Hebrew. Most Hermetic Kabbalists learn some Hebrew, but there are many practical exercises and ritual techniques which can be employed with only a minimal knowledge of Hebrew.

There is no question that a knowledge of Hebrew can make a very large difference. Non-Jewish texts on Kabbalah abound in simple mistakes which are due largely to uninformed copying. Thousands of important Kabbalistic texts have not been translated out of Hebrew or Aramaic, and the number of important source texts in translation is small. The difficulties in trying to read the archaic and technically complex literature of Kabbalah should not be discounted, but it is well worthwhile to acquire even a superficial knowledge of Hebrew. Four useful books are:

Many Kabbalists view the Torah as the word of God and Hebrew as the language of creation. In this view the alphabet and language are divine and have immense magical power. Many of the source texts of Kabbalah are commentaries on the Bible, and derive their insights using a variety of devices, such as puns, anagrams, gematria (letter manipulations) and cross references to the same word in different contexts. The reader is presumed to be adept at playing this game, which becomes completely inaccessible in translation.

Q.1.9 What is Hermetic Kabbalah?

Many people who study Kabbalah are not Jewish. This has been happening for 500 years or so. It is difficult to know what to call this variant of Kabbalah. "Non-Jewish" is inaccurate, as I have personally known several Jews who opted for Hermetic Kabbalah in preference to the traditional variety! At one time it was called "Christian" Kabbalah, but this is also very misleading.

The origin of this variant can be placed in Renaissance Italy in the last decade of the 15th. century. It was an amazing decade. In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for America. In that same year the King of Spain expelled all Jews from Spain on pain of death, bringing to an end centuries of Jewish culture in Spain, and causing a huge migration of dispossessed Jews through Europe, many of whom were welcomed by the Turkish sultan, who is reputed to have observed that the King of Spain had enriched Turkey by beggaring his own country.

At around the same time, at the court of the great banking family of the Medicis in Florence, Marcelio Ficino had established the Platonic Academy under the patronage of the Medicis and was translating the works of Plato. A bundle of manuscripts, lost for centuries and dating back to the 1st. and 2nd. centuries A.D. was discovered; this was the Corpus Hermeticum, a series of documents relatingto Hermes Trimegistus, identical with the Egyptian god Thoth, god of wisdom. Cosimo de Medici told Ficino to stop translating Plato and to concentrate on the Corpus instead.

At the time it was believed that the Corpus really was the religion of the ancient Egyptians, and that Hermes was a kind of Egyptian Moses. The fact that they were written much later, and heavily influenced by Neoplatonism, had the effect of convincing readers at that time that Greek philosophy was founded on much older, Egyptian religious philosophy - this had a huge influence on liberal religious and philosophical thinking at the time. Into this environment came the Kabbalah, brought in part by fleeing Spanish Jews, and it was seized upon as another lost tradition, the inner, initiated key to the Bible.

Two figures stand out. One was Giovanni Pico, Count of Mirandola, who commissioned several translations of Kabbalistic works, and did much to publicise Kabbalah among the intellectuals of the day. The other was Johannes Reuchlin, who learned to read Hebrew and became deeply immersed in Kabbalistic literature. It must be said that Jews were suspicious of this activity, finding that Christian scholars were using the Kabbalah as a bludgeon to persuade them to convert to Christianity.

It was out of this eclectic mixture of Christianity, Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Kabbalah and Renaissance humanism that Hermetic Kabbalah was born. Over the centuries it has developed in many directions, with strong influences from Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, but continued input from Jewish Kabbalah has meant that many variants are not so different in spirit from the original. Its greatest strength continues to be a strong element of religious humanism - it does not attempt to define God and does not define what an individual should believe, but it does assume that some level of direct experience of God is possible and there are practical methods for achieving this. In a modern world of compartmentalised knowledge, scientific materialism, and widespread cultural and historical illiteracy, it provides a bridge between the spirit of enquiry of the Renaissance (the homo universalis or - in Hebrew - hakham kolel) and the emergence of a similar spirit of enquiry in our own time.

Q1.10 : Is Hermetic Kabbalah really Kabbalah?

On the basis of my own beliefs and practice I would say yes, but others might contradict me, and ultimately it is a matter of definition.

Jewish writers on the subject tend to downplay aspects of Kabbalah which conflict with orthodox rabbinical Judaism, so that we do not see the heretic Nathan of Gaza classed as an important Kabbalist, despite the fact that he was very influential for almost two hundred years. We hear little about the non-rabbinic "Baal Shem" or "Masters of the Name" who used Kabbalah for healing and other practical purposes. There is ample evidence that many magical practices currently associated with Hermetic Kabbalah were widely used and well understood by some of the most famous rabbinic Kabbalists.

It is the author's opinion that Hermetic Kabbalah has preserved up to the current day many practical techniques, and R. Aryeh Kaplan makes the following significant comment:

"It is significant to note that a number of techniques alluded to in these fragments also appear to have been preserved among the non-Jewish school of magic in Europe. The relationship between the practical Kabbalah and these magical schools would constitute an interesting area of study."

A more difficult question is whether Hermetic Kabbalah conforms to the spirit of Jewish Kabbalah. One of the most visible distinctions is that between theurgy and thaumaturgy, between the attempt to participate in the workings of the divine realm for the betterment of the creation, and the attempt to interfere with its workings for personal betterment. Modern Kabbalah outside of Judaism appears in many guises, and is often associated or combined with ceremonial or ritual. It may be mixed with a wide range of theosophical traditions. This does not in itself set it apart from historical Kabbalah. Ritual has always been an integral part of Kabbalah, and Kabbalah has absorbed from cultures and traditions all over Europe and the Middle East. Even the distinction between theurgy and thaumaturgy may be meaningless, as similar techniques can be used for both - only by examining intention could one begin to judge which was which.

Given the lack of a dogmatic tradition in Kabbalah it is not clear that the question about the legitimacy of Hermetic Kabbalah is meaningful. Even within Judaism it is unclear what the authentic spirit or tradition is - there are large differences in outlook between someone like Abraham Abulafia and Isaac Luria.

There is no good answer. One person will be reassured that the tradition is alive and going off in many different directions - that is the sign of a living tradition. Another person will feel threatened by outsiders and dilettantes who are bringing the tradition into disrepute. About the only thing which can be said with complete certainty is that there is a great deal of prejudice. Just about everyone who studies Kabbalah seems to be certain that someone else hasn't a clue what Kabbalah is about!

Q1.11 : How can I find someone who teaches Kabbalah?

It is not possible to recommend specific people or organisations as what is right for one person may not be right for another. In general, (good) teachers of Kabbalah are not easy to find and never have been. There is a tradition that when the pupil is ready, a teacher will appear.

The difficulty in finding a teacher can be viewed as a nuisance or a positive part of learning Kabbalah. A thing is valued more when it is hard to find. Associate with people who share your interests, go to lectures and public meetings, go to workshops, go to whatever happens to be available, (even if it is not entirely to your taste), and sooner or later someone will "turn up".

Many Kabbalists are people with strong personal convictions of a religious nature, and may see their teaching as a personal obligation (see "What is the Great Work?" ). Those who do not charge money for their teaching may require a strong commitment from pupils, and are unlikely to welcome "flavour of the month" mystical aspirants.

A word of advice: a genuine teacher of Kabbalah will help you to develop your own personal relationship with God. Beware of a teacher who has preconceived and well-developed ideas about what is good for you, or who tries to control the development of your beliefs.

Section 2: Specifics

Q2.1 : What is the Great Work?

"Do not pray for your own needs, for your prayer will not then be accepted. But when you want to pray, do so for the heaviness of the Head. For whatever you lack, the Divine Presence also lacks." "This is because man is a "portion of God from on high." Whatever any part lacks, also exists in the Whole, and the Whole feels the lack of the part, You should therefore pray for the needs of the Whole." The term "the Great Work" has many definitions, and is not a term from traditional Kabbalah, but it has a modern usage among some Kabbalists. The quotation above, from a disciple of the Kabbalist R. Israel Baal Shem Tov, is a traditional Kabbalistic view: that the creation is in a damaged and imperfect state, and the Kabbalist, by virtue of his or her state of consciousness, can bring about a real healing. A name for this is "tikkun" (restoration). There are many traditional forms of tikkun, most of them prescriptions for essentially magical acts designed to bring about a healing in the creation.

This view of the Great Work also exists outside of Judaic Kabbalah and survives today, namely that the creation is in a "fallen" state, and each person has an individual role to play in bringing about a general restoration. "When someone stands in the light but does not give it out, then a shadow is created."

This is a modern restatement of an old Kabbalistic idea. In this view, God gives life to the Creation: from second to second the Creation is sustained by this giving, and if it were to cease even for an instant, the Creation would be no more. If someone wants to know God then they have to resemble God, and this means they must give to others. Kabbalah is not a self-centred pursuit; it pivots around the Kabbalist's relationship with all living beings.

Q2.2 : I want to know more about the Archangels.

The following information was derived initially from a discussion on alt.magick where several people contributed pieces, in particular, (in no order) Le Grand Cinq-Mars, Amanda Walker, Leigh Daniels, Patric Shane Linden, B.A. Davis-Howe, Mark Garrison, Baird Stafford, and myself. Apologies if you said something and I missed it.

Angels are found in the Judaic, Christian, Islamic and Zoroastrian traditions. The word "angel" is derived from the Christian Latin "angelos", itself derived from the Greek "aggelos", which is a translation of the Hebrew word "mal'akh", a messenger.

Angels are typically found in groupings of four, seven and twelve, reflecting their role in mediating the divine influence via the planets and the stars. For example, in Zorastrianism there was a belief in the Amesha Spentas, seven holy or bounteous immortals who were functional aspects of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord. In Islam four angels are well known: Jibril (Gabriel), the angel of revelation; Mikal (Michael), the angel of nature; Izrail (Azrael), the angel of death, and Israfil, the angel who places the soul in the body and sounds the last judgement.

The sources for the angels used in Kabbalah and ceremonial magic are primarily Jewish. The canonical Old Testament books mention only Michael and Gabriel, but apocryphal and Talmudic literature provide richer sources, and there is a suspicion that this was a result of contact with Zoroastrianism during the period of the Babylonian Exile (6th-5th centuries BC). The four best-known angels are


According to one source his name is his war-cry: "Who is like God?". Michael is at war with the great dragon or serpent, often identified with Samael in Jewish sources. Michael's original position in the celestial hierarchy has been progressively eroded by angels such as Metatron. In medieval Kabbalah he is attributed to Chesed, but in modern Kabbalah he is attributed to Tipheret, and sometimes to Hod.


Uriel means "Fire of God", from the word "oor" meaning "fire" and Auriel means "Light of God", from the word "or" meaning "light". Both names tend to be used synonymously, and the association with light is common in Kabbalah. In medieval Kabbalah Uriel is attributed to Truth and the middle pillar of the Tree, in Tipheret. The association with light is significant because of the importance of light in practical Kabbalah, where several different kinds are distinguished, including: nogah (glow), tov (good), bahir (brilliant), zohar (radiant), kavod (glory), chaim (life), and muvhak (scintillating). In Christian times Uriel may have been identified with Lucifer ("light-bearer") and Satan, an odd identification as the diabolic angel according to Jewish tradition is Samael.


Raphael means "Healing of God". Raphael is sometimes attributed to Hod and sometimes to Tipheret.


Gabriel means "Strength of God" and in medieval Kabbalah was attributed to Gevurah (the words share a common root). In modern Kabbalah Gabriel can be found further down the Tree in Yesod, using his strength to hold up the foundations.

The four archangels can be found in a variety of protective incantations where they guard the four quarters, an almost universal symbolism which can be found in guises as diverse as nursery rhymes ("Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this bed that I lie on") to ancient Egyptian protective deities. A well-known incantation can be found in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (see below).

The angel Samael is also important in Kabbalah. Scholem shows (in "The Origins of the Kabbalah") that in early medieval Kabbalah, Samael retained some of the characteristics of the Gnostic demiurge Ialdebaoth (the blind god), and derives the name from "sami", meaning "blind". He is attributed consistently to the planet Mars and the sephira Gevurah, and is the source of all the nastiness in the world. He appears in various guises as the Dark Angel and the Angel of Death. The suffix -el betrays his divine origin, and Kabbalists have been divided between placing him at the head of a demonic hierarchy (alongside his wife Lilith), and viewing him as an unpleasant but necessary component of creation. Samael is identified with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, a tempter and a poisoner of life.

The archangel Metatron does not appear in many lists of archangels, but has an important role in Kabbalah as the archangel of the Countenance. Legend has it that Metatron is none other than the Old Testament sage Enoch, lifted up to Heaven by God. Scholem comments that "...there is hardly a duty in the heavenly realm and within the dominion of one angel among the other angels that is not associated with Metatron". Metatron is usually associated with Kether.

The problem lies in from whence the author goes to research the names of the 7 Archangels. The earliest sources giving the names of all Seven Archangels is ENOCH I (Ethiopic Enoch) which lists the names as following:

Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, and Remiel

The next two sources which originate within a few decades of each other list quite different names of the Seven Archangels. In ENOCH 3 (Hebrew Enoch) the Archangels are listed as:

Mikael, Gabriel, Shatqiel, Baradiel, Shachaqiel, Baraqiel, Sidriel

While the TESTAMENT OF SOLOMON mentions:

Mikael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sabrael, Arael, Iaoth, Adonaei

The Xtian Gnostics changed things a bit further, but they still mention Uriel (though, in some cases they called him Phanuel). The compleat listing of the Archangels according to their tradition is:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Barachiel, Sealtiel, Jehudiel Pope

Gregory the Great wrote the Archangels as being these 7:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Simiel, Orifiel, Zachariel

Likewise, the Pseudo-Dionysians used a similar grouping, mentioning Uriel also. They list the following as the Seven Archangels:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel, Zadkiel

It was not until much later times, around the 10th century C.E. when the name Uriel was replaced by other names in these much latter sources. In Geonic Lore, Uriel is replaced by Samael (The Angel of Light, or THE Lightbearer, from whence the ideology of Lucifer had originated from also). In Geonic Lore the seven are noted as being:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Aniel, Kafziel, Samael, and Zadkiel

Around the 12th to 15th centuries C.E. the name of Haniel came to replace the name of Uriel. However, the two being quite different in their Natures. The name Haniel is common to the Talismanic Magical Tradition and other forms of Medieval Ceremonialism. These Medieval Traditions mention the seven as being:

Zaphkiel, Zadkiel, Camael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel

Also, a late sourcebook titled THE HIERARCHY OF THE BLESSED ANGELS mentions a different list of the seven archangels. They list them as following:

Raphael, Gabriel, Chamuel, Michael, Adabiel, Haniel, Zaphiel

It need be remembered, that the Judaeo/Xtian tradition originates from several religions and traditions, each having its own legends and thusly, its own hierarchies and namings of the angels. In Islam, there are only four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrael (the Angel of Death, often interchanged with Uriel since the 15th century in some European traditions) for instance. One can easily determine the sources and origins of an book on Qabala or Ceremonial Magick by what angels they use, obviously.

I personally have drawn up a TREE OF LIFE for each of these traditions, based upon much research, for reference purposes. Note though, the differences do not stop with just the names of the Seven Archangels. These sources also do not agree on the Orders of the Celestial Hierarchy, The Ruling Princes, The Throne Angels, and the Names of God, just to name a few! Are you starting to get the idea yet, or are you more confused.

Q2.3 : What is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and where does it come from?

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is a protective formula which can be used to banish unwanted influences, to "clear the air" as a preliminary to ritual or meditative work. It can be carried out physically, but it can also be used as a concentration exercise which is performed in the imagination prior to going to sleep (for example).

The ritual exists in a number of variant forms, the best known being the Golden Dawn variant given below. The Golden Dawn version is is based on (or is at least strongly influenced by) Jewish sources.

The version of the ritual below was posted by Rodrigo de Ferres( and is included here with his permission. [I have altered a couple of Hebrew transliterations to make them consistent with normal Hebrew vowel pointing.]

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

This ritual can be done to purify a room for further ritual work or meditation and can be used for protection. Its effects are primarily on the Astral (IMHO) though it uses the Earth pentagram. It also promotes a still mind, free of outside influenes which is a useful aid in meditation. It is therefore recommended that the ritual be used as part of a daily meditation work.

  1. Stand facing East.
  2. Perform the Qabalistic Cross
    1. Touch forehead with first two (or index) fingers of right hand and visualizing a sphere of white light at that point, vibrate: Atah (translates roughly - Thou Art)
    2. Lower hand to solar plexus and visualize a line extending down to your feet, vibrate: Malkuth (the Kingdom)
    3. Raise hand and touch right shoulder visualizing a sphere of light there. Vibrate: Ve Geburah (and the power)
    4. Extend the hand across the chest tracing a line of light and touch the left shoulder where another sphere of light forms. Vibrate: Ve Gedulah (and the glory).
    5. Clasp hands in center of chest at crossing point of horizontal and vertical lines of light. Bow head and vibrate: Le Olam, Amen. (for ever - amen.)
  3. Facing east, using either the extended fingers or a dagger, trace a large pentagram with the point up, starting at your left hip, up to just above your forehead, centered on your body, then down to your right hip, up and to your left shoulder, across to the right shoulder and down to the starting point in front of your left hip. Visualize the pentagram in blue flaming light. Stab you fingers or dagger into the center and vibrate: YHVH (Yod-heh-vahv-heh - which is the tetragrammaton translated into latin as Jehovah)
  4. Turn to the south. Visualize that the blue flame follows you fingers or dagger, tracing a blue line from the east pentagram to the south. Repeat step three while facing South, except vibrate: Adonai (another name for god translated as Lord)
  5. Turn to the West, tracing the blue flame from south to west. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: Eheieh (Eh-hay-yeah more or less - another name of God translated as I AM or I AM THAT I AM.) (Or "I will be" - Ed.)
  6. Turn to the North, again tracing the blue flame from west to north. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: AGLA (Ah-gah-lah - a composite of Atah Gibor le olam Amen - see step 2)
  7. Return again to the east, tracing the blue flame from North to East. Stab the fingers or dagger back again into the same spot as in step 3. You should now visualize that you are surrounded by four flaming pentagrams connected by a line of blue fire.
  8. Extend your arms out to your sides, forming a cross. Vibrate (visualizing each Archangel standing guard at each station):
    Before me RAPHAEL (rah-fah-yell)
    Behind me GABRIEL (gah-bree-ell)
    On my right hand, MICHAEL (mee-khah-ell)
    On my left hand, AURIEL (sometimes URIEL aw-ree-ell or ooh-ree-ell) for about me flames the Pentagrams, and in the column stands the six-rayed star. (Alternatively the last two lines can be: before me flames the pentagram, behind me shines the six-rayed star)
  9. Repeat the Qabalistic Cross (step 2). As can be seen, Raphael is in the East, Gabriel in the West, Michael in the South and Auriel/Uriel in the North.

For more detailed information I refer the reader to: The Practical Qabalah by Charles Fielding Ceremonial Magic by Israel Regardie, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic also by Regardie The Golden Dawn as well by Regardie

This particular exercise is derived from the practice of saying the Sh'ma 'before lying down' - the 'kriyat (bedtime) Sh'ma'. A full traditional Sephardic version, in Hebrew and English, and with some commentary, can be found beginning on page 318 of the 'Artscroll Siddur' (nusach Sefard), Mesorah, ISBN 0-89906-657-7. Traditional Hassidic kavvenot (intentions/directions/way to do it) can be found in 'Jewish Spiritual Practices' by Yitzhak Buxbaum, Aronson, ISBN 0-87668-832-6.

The attributes listed in the so-called 'Qabbalistic Cross' comes from Psalm 99, verse 5, and are part of the Shachrit (morning) Torah service. The attributes assigned for the movements are not traditional, and the order has been changed. If using the traditional assignments (Gevurah left, Gedulah or Chesed right), and saying the sephirotic names in the proper order, it more properly would describe the Lightening Flash in the lower 7 Sephirot, rather than a cross. (Note in the kriyat Sh'ma that Michael (Chesed) is on the right and Gabriel (Gevurah) is on the left. The implication is that one is facing Keter). Due to changes in directional / elemental / archangelic positioning, it is not obvious (but clearly implied) that physically one is facing North. Another change is that the LBRP does not bless the Divine, while the Jewish service does. This lack of blessing may reflect the not-so-covert Christian/Rosicrucian bias in G.D. liturgy and a particular theology, or it may not. In any event, it changes what was originally an theurgic act into a thaumaturgic act. You might also note that many Jews coming across the LBRP are deeply offended that the liturgy has been so grossly distorted, and is being used (from their perspective) sacreligiously. Telling them that it's "just different" carries about as much weight as telling traditional Native Americans that Lynn Andrew's work is "just different". Combining aspects of two completely different aspects into one ritual can be done, but it really is better if you know what you're working with.

Q2.4 : What are the Qlippoth?

The word "qlippah" or "klippah" (plural "qlippoth") means "shell" or "husk".

The idea of a covering or a garment or a vessel is common in Kabbalah, where it used, at various times and with various degrees of subtlety, to express the manner in which the light of the En Soph is "encapsulated". For example, the sephiroth, in their capacity of recipients of light, are sometimes referred to as kelim, "vessels". The duality between the container and the contained is one of the most important in Kabbalistic explanations of the creative moment.

The word "qlippah" is an extension of this metaphor. A qlippah is also a covering or a container, and as each sephira acts as a shell or covering to the sephira preceding it in the order of emanation, in a technical sense we can say the qlippoth are innate to the Tree of Life. Cut a slice through a tree and one can see the growth rings, with the bark on the outside. The Tree of Life has 10 concentric rings, and sometimes the qlippah is equated to the bark. The word is commonly used to refer to a covering which contains no light: that is, an empty shell, a dead husk.

It is also the case that the qlippoth appear in Kabbalah as demonic powers of evil, and in trying to disentangle the various uses of the word it becomes clear that there is an almost continuous spectrum of opinion, varying from the technical use where the word hardly differs from the word "form", to the most anthropomorphic sense, where the qlippoth are evil demonesses in a demonic hierarchy responsible for all the evil in the world.

One reason why the word "qlippah" has no simple meaning is that it is part of the Kabbalistic explanation of evil, and it is difficult to explain evil in a monotheistic, non-dualistic religion without incurring a certain complexity....

If God is good, why is there evil? No short essay can do justice to the complexity of this topic. I will indicate some of the principle themes. The "Zohar" attributes the primary cause of evil to the act of separation. The act of separation is referred to as the "cutting of the shoots". What was united becomes divided, and the boundary between one thing and another can be regarded as a shell. The primary separation was the division between the Tree of Life (Pillar of Mercy) from the Tree of Knowledge (Pillar of Severity).

In normal perception the world is clearly characterized by divisions between one thing and another, and in this technical sense one could say that we are immersed in a world of shells. The shells, taken by themselves as an abstraction divorced from the original, undivided light (making another separation!) are the dead residue of manifestation, and can be identified with dead skin, hair, bark, sea shells, or shit. They have been referred to as the dregs remaining in a glass of wine, or as the residue left after refining gold. According to Scholem, the Zohar interprets evil as "the residue or refuse of the hidden life's organic process"; evil is something which is dead, but comes to life because a spark of God falls on it; by itself it is simply the dead residue of life.

The skeleton is the archetypal shell. By itself it is a dead thing, but infuse it with a spark of life and it becomes a numinous and instantly recognisable manifestation of metaphysical evil. The shell is one of the most common horror themes; take a mask, or a doll, or any dead representation of a living thing, shine a light out of its eyes, and becomes a thing of evil intent. The powers of evil appear in the shape of the animate dead - skulls, bones, zombies, vampires, phantasms.

The following list of correspondences follows the interpretation that the qlippoth are empty shells, form without force, the covering of a sephira:














Routine, Repetition, Habit


Rigid Order


Zombieism, Robotism



Pay attention here:

A second, common interpretation of the qlippoth is that they represent the negative or averse aspect of a sephira, as if each sephira had a Mr. Hyde to complement Dr. Jekyll. There are many variations of this idea. One of the most common is the idea that evil is caused by an excess of the powers of Din (judgement) in the creation. The origin of this imbalance may be innate, a residue of the moment of creation, when each sephira went through a period of imbalance and instability (the kingdoms of unbalanced force), but another version attributes this imbalance to humankind's propensity for the Tree of Knowledge in preference to the Tree of Life (a telling and precognitively inspired metaphor if ever there was one...).

“I have something to say about this: Qlippoth or negative aspect ( averse aspect ) is a dualistic concept, that undermines the whole construction and architecture of the tree of life. Once you accept this concept, and the idea of an unbalanced moment in creation, this instability of Zero, which is a paradoxical idea, will force the entire construction to collapse, if one legitimates such a possibility, by giving it the opportunity to re introduce dualistic thought and fault. Equilibrium is omnipervasive and is ruled by harmonic laws that take care of all creation. Instability does not last and has not the possibility to resonate because it is amorphous.”    Let’s comtinue:

The imbalance of the powers of Din "leaks" out of the Tree and provides the basis for the "sitra achra", the "other side", or the "left side" (referring to pillar of severity), a quasi or even fully independent kingdom of evil. This may be represented by a full Tree in its own right, sometimes by a great dragon, sometimes by seven hells. The most lurid versions combine Kabbalah with medieval demonology to produce detailed lists of demons, with Samael and Lilith riding at their head as king and queen.  A version of this survives in the Golden Dawn tradition on the qlippoth. The qlippoth are given as 10 evil powers corresponding to the 10 sephiroth. I referred to G.D knowledge lectures and also to Crowley's "777" (believed to be largely a rip-off of Alan Bennett's G.D. correspondence tables), and found several inconsistencies in transliteration and translation. Where possible I have reconstructed the original Hebrew, and I have given a corrected list.

The Orders of the Qlippoth






Twins of God (TAVM, tom - a twin)



Hinderers (? OVG - to draw a circle)



Concealers (STR, satar- to hide, conceal)



Breakers in Pieces (GASh Ga'ash - shake, quake KLH, khalah - complete destruction, annihilation)



Flaming Ones (unclear)



Litigation (probably from GVR, goor - quarrel)


Orev Zarak

Raven of Dispersion (ARV, orev - raven ZRQ, zaraq - scatter)



False Accuser (SMM, samam - poison)



Obscene Ass (GML, gamal - camel? alt. ripen?)




Woman of the Night (Leilah - Night)

Most of these attributions are obvious, others are not. The Twins of God replace a unity with a warring duality. The Hinderers block the free expression of the God's will. The Concealers prevent the mother from giving birth to the child - the child is stillborn in the womb. The Breakers in Pieces are the powers of authority gone bersek - Zeus letting fly with thunderbolts in all directions. The Flaming Ones refer to the fiery and destructive aspect of Gevurah. Lilith is the dark side of the Malkah or queen of Malkuth. Why Samael is placed in Hod is unclear, unless he has been christianised and turned into the father of lies. In Kabbalah he is almost always attributed to Gevurah, sometimes as its archangel. Yesod is associated with the genitals and the sexual act, but why Gamaliel is unclear to me. I could easily concoct fanciful and perhaps even believable explanations for the attributions to Tipheret and Netzach, but I prefer not to. In "777" Crowley also gives qlippoth for many of the 22 paths. If the transliterations and translations are as accurate as those for the sephiroth, I would be tempted to reach for my lexicon.

The G.D. teachings on the qlippoth are minimal in the material in my possession, but a great deal can be deduced from those fascinating repositories of Kabbalistic myth, the twin pictures of the Garden of Eden before and after the Fall. There are so many mythic themes in these pictures that it is difficult to disentangle them, but they seem strongly influenced by the ideas of Isaac Luria, and it is now time to describe the third major interpretation of the qlippoth.

Luria's ideas have probably received more elaboration than any others in Kabbalah. The man left little in a written form, and his disciples did not concur in the presentation of what was clearly a very complex theosophical system - this is a subject where no amount of care will ensure consistency with anyone else.

Luria made the first step in the creation a process called "tzim tzum" or contraction. This contraction took place in the En Soph, the limitless, unknown, and unknowable God of Kabbalah. God "contracted" in a process of self-limitation to make a space (in a metaphorical sense, of course) for the creation. In the next step the light entered this space in a jet to fill the empty vessels of the sephiroth, but all but the first three were shattered by the light. This breaking of the vessels is called "shevirah". The shards of the broken vessels fell into the abyss created by contraction, and formed the qlippoth. Most of the light returned to the En Soph, but some of it remained in the vessels (like a smear of oil in an empty bottle) and fell with the qlippoth.

Scholem describes the shevirah and the expulsion of the qlippoth as cathartic; not a blunder, an architectural miscalculation like an inadequately buttressed Gothic cathedral, but as a catharsis. Perhaps the universe, like a new baby, came attached to a placenta which had to be expelled, severed, and thrown out into the night.

One way of looking at the shevirah is this: the self contraction of tzim tzum was an act of Din, or Judgement, and so at the root of the creative act was the quality which Kabbalists identify with the source of evil, and it was present in such quantity that a balanced creation became possible only by excreting the imbalance. The shevirah can be viewed as a corrective action in which the unbalanced powers of Din, the broken vessels, were ejected into the abyss.

Whether cathartic or a blunder, the shevirah was catastrophic. Nothing was as it should have been in an ideal world. The four worlds of Kabbalah slipped, and the lowest world of Assiah descended into the world of the shells. This can be seen in the G.D. picture of the Eden after the Fall. Much of Lurianic Kabbalah is concerned with corrective actions designed to bring about the repair or restoration (tikkun) of the creation, so that the sparks of light trapped in the realm of the shells can be freed.

The final word on the shells must go to T.S. Eliot, who had clearly bumped into them in one of his many succesful raids on the inarticulate:

"Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;"

"Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost, Violent souls, but only As the hollow men
The stuffed men."




Unconditioned Creativity


Possibility of Boundaries


Conditioned Creativity


Response to Boundaries




Response to Creativity


Appreciation of Boundaries





This is an abstract approach which concentrates on the polarity of force/creativity and form. In Kabbalah this is expressed as the polarity of Chokhmah and Binah. Chokhmah is the unconditioned creativity that explodes out of unity of Kether. Binah is concealed in this duality, in the separation between Kether and Chokhmah, and expresses the possibility of duality, of separation between one thing and another. Binah is the Mother of Form, the root of separation which forms the basis for all distinctions and finiteness. The Mother receives the creative outpouring of Chokhmah and gives birth to it in Chesed. Chesed reflects the creativity of Chokhmah, but is conditioned by the boundaries and distinctions of Binah. Chesed creates within the realm of the possible; Binah defines what is possible.

Gevurah is the response to boundaries. Chesed wants to move existing boundaries around, and Gevurah is the response to that. This response is typically reactionary, a defense of the status quo, an attempt to keep the boundaries where they were. Chesed is active - it changes the status quo. Gevurah is receptive - it takes the existing status quo and defends it.

Netzach is the response to creativity. It is the place of aesthetic judgements, of likes and dislikes, of passions for this and that. It is the adulation of a fan for a band, or an artist, or a politician. Hod is the appreciation of boundaries, a passion for classification, rules, detail, hair-splitting definitions. Netzach is active; feelings tell us what we should like. Feelings direct our behaviour. Hod is receptive, in that it elaborates what it is given.

The more confusing planetary associations should now (I hope) be clearer. Saturn is the sphere of limitation, old age, death, and corresponds to Binah, the Mother of Form, from whose womb all finiteness comes. Jupiter, the leader, corresponds to Chesed. Mars (as the warrior defending the law and the State) corresponds to Gevurah (but not Mars as the bloodthirsty berserker - this is an aspect of Chesed). Venus, the romantic aesthete, goddess of love and sensual beauty, corresponds to Netzach. Mercury, the god of trade, science, communication, medicine, discourse, trickery, corresponds to Hod.

Do not expect to find a detailed consistency between a sephira and its planetary correspondence: the sun is not a sunflower. There is a subtlety and generality, not to mentioned coherency, in the idea of sephirotic emanation which is not to be found in the planetary correspondences.

A Potted History of Kabbalah

Kabbalists and scholars disagree on the date of the origins of the Kabbalah. Many Kabbalists trace the tradition back to 1st. century A.D. Palestine. Scholars tend to identify Kabbalah with specific ideas which emerged in 12th. century Provence in the school of R. Isaac the Blind, who has been called "the father of Kabbalah". What is abundantly clear however is that there is a continuous thread of Jewish mysticism running from early times, and these strands have become so intertwined with Kabbalah that it is difficult to know where one ends and another begins. For example, the highly influential text, the Sepher Yetzirah, was the subject of widespread commentary by medieval Kabbalists but the text may have been written as early as the 1st. century. Again, ideas from Jewish Gnosticism from the 2nd. and 3rd. centuries have also become deeply embedded in Kabbalah.

The earliest documents associated with Kabbalah come from the period ~100 to ~1000 A.D. and describe the attempts of "Merkabah" mystics to penetrate the seven halls (Hekaloth) of creation in order to reach the Merkabah (throne-chariot) of God. These mystics appear to have used what would now be recognised as familiar methods of shamanism (fasting, repetitious chanting, prayer, posture) to induce trance states in which they literally fought their way past terrible seals and guards to reach an ecstatic state in which they "saw God". An early and highly influential document, the Sepher Yetzirah, or "Book of Formation", originated during the earlier part of this period.

By the early Middle Ages further, more theosophical developments had taken place, chiefly a description of "processes" within God, and the development of an esoteric view of creation as a process in which God manifests in a series of emanations, or sephiroth. This doctrine of the sephiroth can be found in a rudimentary form in the "Sepher Yetzirah", but by the time of the publication of the book "Bahir" in the 12th. century it had reached a form not too different from the form it takes today.

A motive behind the development of the doctrine of emanation can be found in the questions:

"If God made the world, then what is the world if it is not God?"

"If the world is God, then why is it imperfect?"

It was necessary to bridge the gap between a pure and perfect being, and a manifestly impure and imperfect world, by a series of "steps" in which the divine light was successively diluted. The result has much in common with Neoplatonism, which also tried to resolve the same difficulty by postulating a "chain of being" which bridged the gap between the perfection of God, and the evident imperfection of the world of daily life.

One of most interesting characters from the early period was Abraham Abulafia (1240-1295), who believed that God cannot be described or conceptualised using everyday symbols. Like many Kabbalists he believed in the divine nature of the Hebrew alphabet and used abstract letter combinations and permutations (tzeruf) in intense meditations lasting many hours to reach ecstatic states. Because his abstract letter combinations were used as keys or entry points to altered states of consciousness, failure to carry through the manipulations correctly could have a drastic effect on the Kabbalist. In Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism Scholem includes a fascinating extract from a description of one such experiment. Abulafia is unusual because (controversially) he was one of the few Kabbalists to provide explicit written details of practical techniques.

The most influential Kabbalistic document, the Sepher ha Zohar or "Book of Splendour", was published by Moses de Leon (1238-1305), a Spanish Jew, in the latter half of the thirteenth century. The Zohar is a series of separate documents covering a wide range of subjects, from a verse-by-verse esoteric commentary on the Pentateuch, to highly theosophical descriptions of processes within God. The Zohar was highly influential within mainstream Judaism (in some communities it was ranked as highly as the Talmud as a source of interpretation on the Torah), and within the more orthodox sects it still is.

An important development in Kabbalah was the Safed school of mystics headed by Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) and his successor Isaac Luria (1534-1572). Luria, called "The Ari" or Lion, was a highly charismatic leader who exercised almost total control over the life of the school, and has passed into history as something of a saint. Emphasis was placed on living in the world and bringing the consciousness of God through into the world in a practical way. Practices were largely devotional.

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Judaism as a whole was heavily influenced by Kabbalah, but two influences caused its decline. The first event was the mass defection of Jews to the cause of the heretic and apostate pseudo-messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (1626-1676), an event Scholem called "the largest and most momentous messianic movement in Jewish history subsequent to the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kokhba Revolt." The Shabbateans included many prominent rabbis and Kabbalists, and from this point Kabbalah became inextricably mired with suspicions of heresy.

A second factor was the rise in Eastern Europe of a populist Kabbalism in the form of Hasidism, and its eventual decline into superstition, so that by the beginning of this century a Jewish writer was able to dismiss Kabbalah as an historical curiousity. Jewish Kabbalah has vast literature which is almost entirely untranslated into English.

A development which took place almost synchronously with the translation and publication of key texts of Jewish Kabbalah was its adoption by many Christian mystics, magicians and philosophers. Some Christians thought Kabbalah held keys that would reveal mysteries hidden in the scriptures, and others tried to find in Kabbalah doctrines which might be used to convert Jews to Christianity. There were some who recognised in Kabbalah themes with which they were already familiar in the literature of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism.

The key figure in what has been called "Christian Kabbalah" is Giovanni Pico, Count of Mirandola. The liberal atmosphere in Florence under the patronage of the Medici family provided a haven for both Jewish scholars (usually employed as translators or physicians) and humanist philosophers. The fall of Byzantium provided a rich source of Greek texts such as works of Plato and the Corpus Hermeticum. Giovanni Pico not only popularised Kabbalah, but influenced humanist scholars such as Johannes Reuchlin to learn Hebrew and study important source texts. Kabbalah was progressively bundled with Pythagoreanism, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and Rosicrucianism to form a snowball which continued to pick up traditions as it rolled down the centuries. It is probably accurate to say that from the Renaissance on, virtually all European occult philosophers and magicians of note had a working knowledge of some aspect of Kabbalah, and we are not talking about obscure individuals - there was a time when science, philosophy, metaphysics, theology and so-called "occult sciences" inter-mingled in a way which baffles the compartmentalised modern mind, and biographers of Isaac Newton still have difficulty in accepting the things he studied when not laying the foundations of modern theoretical physics!

Non-Jewish Kabbalah has suffered greatly from having only a limited number of source texts to work from, often in poor translations, and without the key commentaries which would have revealed the tradition associated with the concepts described. It is pointless to criticise non-Jewish Kabbalah (as many writers have) for misinterpreting Jewish Kabbalah; it should be recognised as a parallel tradition with many points of correspondence and many points of difference. Its strength is that a practical tradition has evolved, which many find effective and worthwhile, and the original Renaissance humanism out of which it grew has remained intact, so that while it is broadly Judeo-Christian in background, it is largely free of dogma, and places the task of self-actualisation firmly in the hands of human beings.

Very little information has survived about the Practical Kabbalah in the Jewish tradition, but there is abundant evidence that it involved a wide range of practices and included practices now regarded as magical - the fact that so many Kabbalists denounced the use of Kabbalah for magical purposes is evidence in itself (even if there were no other) that the use of these techniques was widespread. It is highly likely that many ritual magical techniques were introduced into Europe by Kabbalists or their less scrupulous camp followers.

The most important medieval magical text is the Key of Solomon, and it contains the elements of classic ritual magic - names of power, the magic circle, ritual implements, consecration, evocation of spirits etc. No-one knows how old it is, but there is a reasonable suspicion that its contents preserve techniques which might well date back to Solomon.

The combination of non-Jewish Kabbalah and ritual magic has been kept alive outside Judaism until the present day, although it has been heavily adulterated at times by Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, Rosicrucianism, Christianity, Tantra and so on. The most important "modern" influences are the French magician Eliphas Levi, and the English Order of the Golden Dawn. At least two members of the Golden Dawn (S.L. Mathers and A.E. Waite) were knowledgeable Kabbalists, and three Golden Dawn members have popularised Kabbalah - Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, and Dion Fortune. Dion Fortune's Order of the Inner Light has also produced a number of authors: Gareth Knight, William Butler, and William Gray to name but three.

An unfortunate side effect of the Golden Dawn is that while Kabbalah was an important part of its "Knowledge Lectures", surviving Golden Dawn rituals are a syncretist hodge-podge of symbolism in which Kabbalah seems to play a minor or nominal role, and this has led to Kabbalah being seen by many modern occultists as more of a theoretical and intellectual discipline, rather than a potent and self-contained mystical and magical system in its own right.

Some of the originators of modern witchcraft (e.g. Gerald Gardner, Alex Saunders) drew heavily on medieval ritual and Kabbalah for inspiration, and it is not unusual to find modern witches teaching some form of Kabbalah, although it is generally even less well integrated into practical technique than in the case of the Golden Dawn.

To summarise, Kabbalah is a mystical and magical tradition which originated nearly two thousand years ago and has been practiced continuously during that time. It has been practiced by Jew and non- Jew alike for about five hundred years. On the Jewish side it has been an integral and influential part of Judaism. On the Hermetic side it has created a rich mystical and magical tradition with its own validity, a tradition which has survived despite the prejudice generated through existing within a strongly Christian culture.

Qliphoth/Qelippot, alternatively Klippot/Kellipot etc. (Transliteration of the Heb. קליפות meaning "peels", "shells", "husks".[1] Singular: קליפה Qelippah/Kelipah) refers to the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism.[2]

In the Kabbalistic spiritual cosmology, the Kelipot are metaphorical "shells" surrounding holiness. They are spiritual obstacles receiving their existence from God only in an external, rather than internal manner. Divinity in Judaism connotes revelation of God's true unity, while the shells conceal holiness, as a peel conceals the fruit within. They are therefore synonymous with idolatry, the root of impurity through ascribing false dualism in the Divine, and with the Sitra Achra (סטרא אחרא The "Other Side"), the perceived realm opposite to holiness. They emerge in the descending Chain of Being through Tzimtzum contractions and concealments of the Divine Light, as part of the purpose of Creation. In this they also have beneficial properties, as peel protects the fruit, restraining the Divine flow from being dissipated. Kabbalah distinguishes between two realms in Kelipah, the completely impure and the intermediate. Their four "concentric" terms are derived from Ezekiel's vision (1:4), "And I looked and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it..."[3] The "Three Impure Kelipot" (completely "Tamei" impure) are read in the first three terms, the intermediate "Shining Kelipah" ("Nogah" brightness) is read in the fourth term, mediating as the first covering directly surrounding holiness, and capable of sublimation. In Medieval Kabbalah, the Shechinah divine presence is separated in Creation from the Sephirot by man's sin, while in Lurianic Kabbalah Divinity is exiled in the Kelipot from prior initial Catastrophe in Creation. This causes "Sparks of Holiness" to be exiled in the Kelipot shells, Jewish Observance with physical objects redeeming mundane Nogah, while the Three Completely Impure Kelipot are elevated indirectly through Negative prohibitions. Repentance out of Love retrospectively turns sin into virtue, darkness into light. When all the sparks are freed from the Kelipot, depriving them of their vitality, the Messianic era begins. In Hasidic thought, the Kabbalistic scheme of Kelipah is internalised in psychological experience as self-focus, opposite to holy Deveikut self-nullification, underlying its Panentheistic Monistic view of Kelipot as the illusionary self-awareness of Creation.

In some Hermetic Qabalah, contact is sought with the Kelipot unlike in the ethical-mystical Jewish prohibition, as part of its process of human self-knowledge. Jewish Practical Kabbalah was understood by its practitioners as similar to White magic, accessing only holiness, while the danger in such venture of mixing impure Magic ensured it remained a minor and restricted practice in Jewish history.

Mathers' interpretation

Writing in The Kabbalah Unveiled, a translation of one of the founding texts of Hermetic Kabbalah, MacGregor Mathers equates these forces with the Kings of Edom. He also offers the suggestion they are the result of an imbalance towards Gedulah, the Pillar of Mercy or the merciful aspect of God, and have since been destroyed. [4]

In subsequent Hermetic teachings, the Qliphoth have tended, much like the sephiroth, to be interpreted as mystical worlds or entities, and merged with ideas derived from demonology.

In addition to this, there are also The Seven Infernal Habitations or seven hells (Tehom, Abaddon, Titahion, Barshacheth, Tzelmoth, Shaarimoth and Gehinnom), twelve Qliphotic orders of demons, three powers before Satan and twenty-two demons which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Crowley, Regardie, and Heidrick

According to Aleister Crowley, the three evil forms (before Samael), are said to be Qemetial, Belial, and Othiel.[5]

According to Israel Regardie, the qlipothic tree consists of 10 spheres in opposition to the sephiroth on the Tree of Life. These are also referred to as the "evil twins". They are also the "Evil Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead."[6]

Bill Heidrick gives his own interpretation on the adverse tree, saying that the spellings are "mostly reconstructions with alternatives. Nonetheless, it is believed that the majority of the above are at least suitable if not perfect." He also goes on to say that "These names are sometimes called the 'adverse Sephiroth' instead of the Demonic Orders. A.E. Waite makes this later point in his Holy Kabbalah, page 256."  The following comes from the Notes on the Demonic Orders (Adverse Sephiroth) in Magical Correspondences by Bill Heidrick.


 Thamiel: Duality in God

"Thamiel represents duality whereas Kether represents unity. Thus Thamiel is the division of that which is perfect only in unity. As a demonic order name, the Thamiel were before their 'revolt'. This signifies 'Perfection of God'. These angels sought to become more powerful by adding an Aleph to their name. They then became the 'Duality of God,' an order of the lesser demons. In the lowest state of their 'fall', they become 'the Polluted of God.' The cortex or outer form of the Thamiel is called Cathariel, 'the Broken' or 'Fearful Light of God'."

Satan: Adversary and King

To Thamiel, "there are two demons that are attributed to stress the view that the demonic opposite of Kether is duality instead of unity and are Satan and Moloch or Malech."

In Luciferianism, Thamiel represents the Adversarial Daemon - a union of Samael and Lilith wherein the symbol of Baphomet is created. Michael W. Ford's book "Scales of the Black Serpent"[8] presents an invocation which calls to the Drums of Moloch as the illuminator.

[edit] Chaigidel

Chaigidel: Confusion of the Power of God

"These are the confusion of that great power which, as Chokmah, goes forth at the beginning to give the vital energy of creation to the processes of Binah. The cortex of the Chaigidel is called Ghogiel, 'Those Who Go Forth into the Place Empty of God'."

Beelzebub: Lord of the Flies and Adam Belial: Wicker Man

To Chaigidel, "both Satan and Beelzebub are attributed as well as Adam Belial. The name Belial is often used separately as a demonic name."

[edit] Sathariel

Sathariel: Concealment of God

"Even as Binah is the great revealing one who bestows the structure of the Absolute onto the created, its opposite, the Sathariel, conceal the nature of The Perfect. The cortex or outer form of the Sathariel is called the order of Sheireil, 'The Hairy Ones of God'."

Lucifuge: One Who Flees Light

To Sathariel, Lucifuge "is attributed and is probably a name made up to replace the name Lucifer, 'Light Bearer'."

[edit] Gamchicoth

Gamchicoth: Devourers

"Chesed is the source of bounty both in idea and in substance to the lower forms. Gamchicoth is the order of 'Devourers' who seek to waste the substance and thought of creation. The outer form is the order of Azariel, 'The Binding Ones of God'."

Astaroth: from the Flood

To Gamchicoth, "Astaroth is attributed. This is the name of the goddess Astarte, the Ishtar of the Babylonians and perhaps also the Isis of the Egyptians."

[edit] Golachab

Golachab: Burning Bodies

"Geburah is a going forth in power to rule in strength. The order of Golab is composed of those who burn to do destruction --- even on themselves. The outer form is Usiel, 'The Ruins of God'."

Asmodeus: The Destroying God

To Golachab, Asmodeus is attributed. "This name is half Hebrew and half Latin. Asmodeus is often mentioned in the literature of demonology. The name can also be translated as 'The one adorned with fire'."

[edit] Thagirion

Thagirion(n): Those Who Bellow Grief and Tears

"Tiphereth is the place of great beauty and rejoicing. The Thagirion build ugliness and groan about it. The cortex of the Thagirion is called Zomiel, 'The Revolt of God'."

Belphegor: Lord of the Dead

To Thagirion, "the replacement of Tiphereth, the sphere of the vitalizing Sun, with a place holding Belphegor, the lord of dead, is most striking."

[edit] Harab Serapel

Harab Serapel: Ravens of the Burning of God

"Netzach is the openness of natural love. The Harab Serapel are the Ravens of Death who reject even their own. The outer form is Theumiel, 'The Fouled Substance of God'."

Baal: Lord and Tubal Cain: Maker of Sharp Weapons

To Harab Serapel, "Baal is attributed, and is "a word which means Lord, much as Adonai means Lord. The word Baal or 'Bel' has become restricted in its usage to signify a 'Lord of Darkness'." Also attributed is Tubal Cain.

[edit] Samael

Samael: The Desolation of God, or The Left Hand

"Hod is the complex working of the will of the Absolute. Samael represents the barren desolation of a fallen and failed creation. The outer form is Theuniel, 'The filthy Wailing Ones of God'."

Adrammelech: Powerful King

To Samael, Adrammelech is attributed. "This name is found in Fourth Kings: XVII, 29-31: ' And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim."

[edit] Gamaliel

Gamaliel: Polluted of God

"Yesod is the place of the final forms that become matter in Malkuth. The Gamaliel are the Misshapen and polluted images that produce vile results. The outer form is the order of Ogiel, 'those Who Flee from God'."

Lilith: Night Specter

To Gamaliel, Lilith is attributed and "is the grand lady of all demons. The demons are sometimes considered to be the children of Lilith and is said to be the woman who comes to men in their dreams."

[edit] Nehemoth

Nehemoth: Whisperers (or Night Specter)

"These are responsible for frightening sounds in strange places. They excite the mind and cause strange desires." This corresponds with Malkuth as well.

Nehema: Groaning

To Nehemoth, Nehema is attributed, "and is traditionally a demon and the sister of Lilith, possibly a remembrance of the Egyptian Nephthys and Isis. It is conceivable that Nehema is the same as Naamah, the sister of Tubal Cain."

 Mmmmmmmmhhhhh mmmmmmmhhh mmmmmmmmhhhhh

Much more than Zero, I would say, and the proof that the dark side, introducing dualism, spoilt these teachings too. Maybe in a couple of thousand years, but they managed to do it just the same.

I’m only saying that if we observe closely enough sacred scriptures, we shall find in them “traps” all over the place. Usually, books of this weight and size, importance and power, aren’t shared at all by  these schools, that keep them secret, attentively. Once a copy is around, they immediately introduce diversions and false copies of it, ultimately changing and re inventing the whole thing.

Amanuenses are at work. Watch out. Truth, means advantage to them, whilst it is in fact the path to liberation. That’s why they keep burning biblioteques, and filling everything up with nonsense.

From my point of view, should be considered as the greatest number, and infinite, again, an attempt to split it in two. Oneness, awareness, consciousness.

And remember the magical formula  ZERO ZOHAR ZEFIR SEPHIROTH…


by Amonakur