A sefirah (pl. sefirot) is a channel of Divine energy or life-force. This most fundamental concept of Kabbalah is that in the process of creation an intermediate stage was emanated from God’s infinite light to create what we experience as finite reality
A sefirah (pl. sefirot) is a channel of Divine energy or life-force. This most fundamental concept of Kabbalah is that in the process of creation an intermediate stage was emanated from God’s infinite light to create what we experience as finite reality. These channels are called the Ten Sefirot, Ten Divine Emanations, Ten Divine Radiances, Ten Divine Eluminices, or Ten Divine Powers which are the basic terms and concepts of the inner wisdom of the Torah which is called Kabbalah.
Sephirah is from the Hebrew ספירה, which means enumeration (“counting”) or jewel. The plural is ספירת, sephiroth.
The ten Sephiroth of universal vibration emerge from the Ain Soph, which is the Microcosmic Star that guides our interior. This Star is the Real Being of our Being.
Ten Sephiroth are spoken of, but in reality there are twelve; the Ain Soph is the eleventh, and its tenebrous antithesis is in the Abyss, which is the twelfth Sephirah.
These are twelve spheres or universal regions that interpenetrate each other without confusion. These twelve spheres gravitate in the central atom of the sign of the infinite. Solar humanity unfolds in these twelve spheres. We have said that the sign of the infinite is in the center of the earth, in the heart of the earth. The Sephiroth are atomic. The ten Sephiroth can be reduced into three tables:
- A quantum table of the radiant energy that comes from the sun.
- An atomic weight table of the elements of nature.
- A molecular weight table of compounds.
This is Jacob’s Ladder which goes from earth to heaven. All of the worlds of cosmic Consciousness are reduced to the three tables.
The above chart shows the traditional form of the Kabbalah which includes three axes: right, middle, and left. For each sefirah, we have given its Hebrew spelling, and its English transliteration on the top line and its English translation immediately below.
Although often the sefirot are enumerated as being ten, there are altogether eleven sefirot spoken of in Kabbalistic literature. This is because the sefirah of keter and da’at are actually one, representing differing dimensions of a single force. When keter, which is the super-conscious of the soul, manifests itself in consciousness, it transforms into the sefirah of da’at. In other words, keter and da’at are two sides of the same coin, a conscious side and a unconscious side. Usually when referring to the Ten Sefirot one will either count keter in which case one does not count da’at. Or visa-versa one counts da’at in which case one does not count keter. Therefore there are actually only Ten Sefirot but there are all together eleven names. Still, many times in various models, all eleven sefirot are used at once.
The configuration of the sefirot is graphically depicted in Kabbalistic texts by a vertical array along three parallel axes (or kavim), each representing a mode of Divine influence within Creation. This configuration is variously referred to in the literature as a sulam (“ladder”), an etz (“tree”), or a tzelem Elokim (supernal “image of God”). According to this last designation, the configuration of the sefirot suggests the form of the human body which, as recorded in the Bible, was fashioned “in the image of God.” Hence each sefirah is associated with the particular limb or organ which corresponds to its position in the anatomical sefirotic structure.
A Sephirah cannot be understood only in one plane because it is of a quadruple nature. Therefore, the Kabbalists clearly express the fact that there are Four Worlds.
- Atziluth: the Archetypal World or World of Emanations. It is the Divine World.
- Briah: the World of Creation, also called Khorcia or the World of Schema.
- Yetzirah: the World of Formation and of the Angels.
- Assiah: the World of Action, the World of Matter.
Three Sephiroth of form are found in the Pillar of Severity (Binah, Geburah, and Hod).
Three Sephiroth of energy are found in the Pillar of Mercy (Chokmah, Chesed, and Netzach).
The Pillar of Equilibrium is between these two pillars, where all of the distinct levels of Consciousness are found (Kether, Tiphereth, Yesod, and Malkuth).
The interaction between the various sefirot is depicted through a network of connecting tzinorot (“channels”) which illustrate the flow of Divine energy throughout Creation. These connections suggest various subgroupings of thesefirot, each reflecting a common dynamic amongst the sefirot which they include.
As one can see on the chart above, the sefirot are divided into three triplets of three. There is right, left, middle at three different levels. The first triplet of right, left, middle, is the triplet of the mind: da’at (or alternatively, keter);chochmah; binah). The second triplet is of the inner emotive powers of the heart before one begins to act and do things: chesed; gevurah; tiferet. The third final triplet is of action, which means of behaviouristic characteristics: netzach; hod; yesod. These are also emotions, but emotions that only become manifest in behavior. The final point malchut can be viewed as either an appendage of this last subgrouping, or as an independent entity receiving those energies which precede it. Malchut is the final result of product of all of the experiences of the soul.
The ten known Sephiroth come from Sephirah, the Divine Mother, who resides in the heart temple. The mantra of the Divine Mother is IO which is the 10 emanations of Prakriti, in other words, the 10 (Ten) Sephiroth.
Kether is the Father within us, a breath from the Absolute, profoundly unknowable to Himself. Kether is the Ancient of Days. Each one of us, in our depth, is a blessed Ancient of Days.
Chokmah is the Son, the atomic Christ in us.
Binah is the Mother in us, the Holy Spirit in us.
Kether, Chokmah, and Binah are our Sephirothic Crown.
The very beloved Father, the very adored Son, and the very wise Holy Spirit live within the profundities of our superlative Consciousness, waiting for the supreme instant of our realization.
The Holy Spirit is our Divine Mother that dresses with a blue mantle and a white tunic of exquisite splendors.
The Mother holds in her hand a precious lamp. This lamp is the Innermost who burns within the depth of our hearts. The Innermost is contained within a fine and transparent glass of alabaster. This glass is our own superlative Consciousness; it is our Buddhi.
Also according to the Kabbalah there is a specific order for the sefirot from center, right, left, center. Beginning with keter the order continues to chochmah, binah, da’at (first triplet–mind). Then to chesed, gevurah, tiferet (second triplet–heart), netzach, hod, yesod (third triplet–behavior), and finally malchut.
Another way of dividing the sefirot is into partzufim (profiles, or personas). A partzuf is a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the elaboration of an individual sefirah (or group of sefirot ) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own. According to Kabbalah, the sefirot of keter, chochmah, binah and malchut each possess two interrelated partzufim; whereas the six sefirot from chesed through yesod form their own common and independent pair of partzufim.
Sequentially, the sefirot represent the various stages of the creative process whereby God generated from the very core of His own infinite being, the progression of created realms which culminated in our finite physical universe. As a coexisting group, the sefirot constitute the interacting components of a single metaphysical structure whose “genetic” imprint can be identified at all levels, and within all aspects, of Creation.
The Innermost is the Sephirah Chesed, and Buddhi is the Sephirah Geburah.
The Innermost and Buddhi express themselves through the Human Soul.
The Human Soul is Tiphereth, willpower, beauty.
Therefore, the Innermost, with his two Souls, the Divine and Human, officiates on his throne, which is the cerebrospinal nervous system.
The Innermost is crowned with the Sephirothic Crown. The Innermost abides in his temple. The temple of the Innermost has two columns, Jachin and Boaz. Jachin is the mind and Boaz is the Astral body. The mind is the Sephirah Netzach and the Astral body is the Sephirah Hod. These two columns of the temple are sustained upon the Cubic Stone of Yesod. This Cubic Stone also serves as a foundation for the Kingdom, Malkuth.
This Cubic Stone is the Ethereal Body. Malkuth is the physical body.
Therefore, the human being is a complete decade. We have ten fingers on our hands, ten Sephiroth, and Ten Commandments.
When the Elder of Days has Self-realized the ten Sephiroth, he transforms himself into Adam-Kadmon, the Heavenly Man.
Whosoever Self-realizes the ten Sephiroth will shine in the world of the Light with ineffable Christic splendors.
When the Ancient of Days reaches the realization of the ten Sephiroth in himself, these Sephiroth shine in the world of Light as precious gems, as resplendent stones within the body of the Ancient of Days.
When a human being incarnates the Sephirothic Crown, then the Elder of Days will shine upon him and he shall reign forever and ever.We have to inundate all of our vehicles with atoms of a Christic nature. We have to form Christ within ourselves in order to rise towards the Father, for one reaches the Father only through the Son.We have to inundate all of our vehicles with atoms of a Christic nature. We have to form Christ within ourselves in order to rise towards the Father, for one reaches the Father only through the Son.
Underlying the purely functional structural aspect of each sefirah is a hidden motivational force which is best understood by way of comparison to some corresponding psycho-spiritual state of the human soul. Chassidut’s exposition of the sefirot is primarily concerned with articulating these states and exploring the role that they play in man’s service of God in this world.
Sefiroth represent a divine emanation through which God manifested his existence during the creation of the universe. It is believed that God radiated from himself ten basic intelligences, each of which represented a trait or characteristic of himself. According to the Jewish mystical philosophy of the Cabala, these ten creative powers govern and shape the universe, both seen and unseen and may be compared with the Platonic powers or intelligences. In the Cabala, there are ten holy sefiroth who issue from the right side of God, whereas the ten unholy ones issue from his left. It is believed that God uses the sefiroth as intermediaries in dealing with and controlling his lower Creation. The sefiroth are generally identified as Kether, God’s will and his thought; Hokhmah, God’s plan for the universe; Binah, God’s intelligence; Hesed, divine love; Gevurah, divine judgment; Rahamin, divine compassion (or Tiphereth, beauty, in some systems); Netsah, lasting endurance or eternity; Hod, divine majesty; Yesod, the base of every activity in God; and Shekinah, the presence of God. In addition, the great sefiroth in the form of personalized angels are: Metatron, archangel of the hayyoth hakodesh; Raziel, archangel of the arelim or erelim; Zadkiel, archangel of the hashmalim; Kamael, archangel of the seraphim; Michael, archangel of the shinanim; Haniel, archangel of the tarshishim; Raphael, archangel of the bene elohim; and Gabriel, archangel of the kerubim. According to the sixteenth-century commentator Isaac ha-Cohen of Soria, of the ten evil emanations, only seven were permitted to endure. Of these seven only five have been “authenticated,” that is to say Ashmedai, Kafkefoni, Taninniver (blind dragon), Sammael, and Sammael’s mate Lilith are recognized.
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.