Cube of Space: Ten Sephirot Belimah

Sepher Yetsira Index

1:5 Their measure without end. Depth of beginning. Depth of end. Depth of Tov. Depth of Raa. Depth of above. Depth of below. Depth of East. Depth of West. Depth of North. Depth of South. Adon Yahhid true King (or eternal) has dominion over the Universe of (the) Holy Abode. Eternity of eternity immemorial.


The ten Sephirot are transformers of energy, breaking it down until it becomes completely materialized.           Suares, SY, p.53

32 Paths:   The First Four Sephirot
Sephirot Number Name (Zohar) Quality Function
1 Ehhat Kether Oomq Reshith Rouhh Elohim Hhaim
One Kether Depth of Beginning Breath of Elohim Alive
2 Schtaim Hhokmah Oomq Ahhriyth Rouhh Merouahh
Two Wisdom Depth of End Breath of Breath
3 Schelesch Binah Oomq Tov Mayim Merouhh
Three Understanding Depth of Good Waters of Breath
4 Arbaa G'dolah Oomq Raa Esch Memaim
Four Greatness Depth of Evil Fire of Waters
12 + 7 + 7 + 6   =   32 Paths
Six Extremities:   The Last Six Sephirot
5 H'amesh G'veruh Oomq Rom Lam'alah
Five Strength Depth of Height Above
6 Shesh Tipheret Oomq Tahhat Lamatah
Six Beauty Depth of Abyss Below
7 Sheva Netzach Oomq Mizrah Phani
Seven Victory Depth of East Face
8 Schmona Hod Oomq Maarav Hhari
Eight Glory Depth of West Behind
9 Tesha Yesod Oomq Darom Yamin
Nine Foundation Depth of South Right
10 Esser Malkuth Oomq Tsafon Semol/Shem-El
Ten Sovereignty Depth of North Left

What Were the Names of the Sephirot?
Exodus 31:3     And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge
1 Chronicles 29:11     Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Among all topics within the Kabbalah, the doctrine of the Sefirot enjoyed the greatest popularity in its presentations. Time and again, the list of names of the Sefirot, with the anthropopmorphic pattern, is repeated as the core of this lore. The same is true of scholarly research: the various conceptions of the Sefirot have been analyzed far more extensively than any other Kabbalistic topic. But notwithstanding this wealth of interest, there is as yet no comprehensive study of the history of the Kabbalistic doctrines of the Sephirot. The emergence of the specific names of the Sefirot and the structure and functions of the sefirotic pleorama are all crucial matters for a precise understanding of theosophical Kabbalah; their study is urgent.

Moshe Idel, Kabbalah, New Perspectives, Yale, 1988.

The Sepher Yetsira (300-900 CE) is the first use in Hebrew of the term sephirot and it names them by number, quality/direction and function/perspective. The familar sephirotic names, from Kether to Malkut, came into use with the early (12-13th century) kabbalists and are unknown to the Sepher Yetsira. Attempts to reconcile the ten sephirot-belimah and directions of the Sepher Yetsira with the kabbalist sephirotic theosophy of the Zohar have produced a number of systems of assignments.

For instance, taking the earlier Short, Long and Saadia versions as a baseline, the structure of the sephirot has been subject to revision from two directions -- from above in the order of the first four sephirot -- beginning/first and end/last and good and evil -- as with Isaac Luria's assigning Good to Kether and Evil to Malkuth -- and from below in changing the nature of Malkut from a planetary sephirot to one forming an element called "earth," a non-existent Yetziratic element and displacing the planets upward into the first four/inner court.

In general, the significance of these changes do not seem to be noticed or appreciated for their implications. In all of the early, pre-Luria versions of the Sepher Yetsira, the planets are given in the order determined by their sequence in the Hebrew alphabet: Bayt/Saturn - Ghimmel/Jupiter - Dallet/Mars - Kaf/Sun - Pay/Venus - Raysh/Mercury - Tav/Moon -- the classical order of the planets from Babylonian times and geocentric observation. Later interpretations varied the planetary/sephirotic orderings, as with the Ari's making Bayt formative of Lavanah/Moon at the fifth sephirot, Height/Above.

Suares puts the Zoharic sephirot in order with the Sepher Yetsira, from one to ten, and notes the importance of the 10th Sephirot, formed by Pay/Phay/80 and Venus/Nogah in the North, where Adam Qadmon loops the Tree of Life through Shem-El, the left, the direction of sensuous experience realized in the Sephira of Yod, duration, in the world of action.

The other issue raised by the Sepher Yetsira is where to put the Moon, since the planets begin with Saturn at the 5th Sephira and end with Venus at the 10th Sephira and the Moon is not one of the six extremities, but rather the "hidden direction" or "holy kernel" where they meet. In various kabbalistic and hermetic schemes, it appears capable of appearing almost anywere except the 4th/1st Sephiras, which Suares indicates as the true home of the psyche.

As descriptive as the particular sephirotic name/attribute, even in formative terms, may be, it is a still a qualification of a more fundamental semantic category, probably the one in use before the Crown and the Kingdom -- the one used by the Sepher Yetsira: the categories of the numbers themselves.

Formative and Zoharic Semantics in the 10 Sephirot
# Formative Zoharic   Sepherot
1 Intemporal Kether Crown
2 Container Hhockmah Wisdom
3 Movement Binah Understanding
4 Resistance Gedolah Greatness
5 Life Gevurah Strength
6 Union Tipheret Beauty
7 Freedom Netzach Triumph
8 Potential Hod Glory
9 Formation Yesod Foundation
10 Existence Malkuth Kingdom

The formative categories, while less poetic, are more general and inclusive; the attributive categories are allusions to the underlying energy. There are many examples where the formative category is more useful or leads to a deeper insight into the function or structure of a Sephirot.

"Strength" is not particularly helpful in understanding the 5th Sephira, but "Life" echos on every level.

The first four sephirot begin with the permutations of Rouahh Elohim Hhaim, Breath of Elohim Alive, which result in Esch Memaim , Fire in the Waters.

The 5th Sephira is sealed twice with Yod-Hay-Waw: the two lives of YHWH. The 5th is a hinge between the inner life of the first four sephirot and the outer life of the last six.

Which is why Saturn/Shabatai must be formed there, with the contary qualities of Life and Death, and the possibility of realizing the Sabbath.

See: Sephirotic Systems.

Zoharic Sephirotic Assignments for the Ten Directions
SY # Ari Pree Yitzchak Raavad Isaac the Blind Ramak   WoC   Suares
Beginning 1 Chakhmah Keter Chakhmah Chakhmah Keter   Da'at   Keter
End 2 Binah Malkut Binah Binah Malkut   Tipheret   Hhokhmah
Good 3 Keter Chesed Chesed Chesed Chakhmah   Hhesed   Binah
Evil 4 Malkut Gevurah Gevurah Malkut Binah   Gevurah   Gedolah
Up 5 Netzach Netzach Keter Keter Netzach   Kether   Gevurah
Down 6 Hod Hod Malkut Yesod Hod   Yesod   Tiferet
East 7 Tiferet Tiferet Tiferet Tiferet Tiferet   Chockmah   Netzach
West 8 Yesod Yesod Yesod Netzach Yesod   Hod   Hod
South 9 Chesed Binah Hod Hod Chesed   Netzach   Yesod
North 10 Gevurah Hhokmah Netzach Gevurah Gevurah   Binah   Malkut
Kaplan, SY,1995, p.46; Glotzer, Fundamentals of Jewish Mysticism, 1992, p.29; and other sources Contents