The 5 Methodological Gates of R. Eleazar of Worms

In Sefer ha-Chochmah, the Book of 73 (Gates), the early 13th century Askenazi Hasidic Rabbi Eleazar of Worms groups his gates under five methodological categories and expands the conventional short list of major paths or "works" of kabbalah -- the work of Genesis, Ma'aseh Bereshit, and the work of the Chariot, Ma'aseh Merkavah -- to include three more primary methods or practices. The list:
  • Work of Genesis
  • Work of the Chariot
  • The Names of God
  • The Soul
  • Sefer Yetzirah
 
R. Eleazar of Worms, Sefer ha-Chochmah:  
It was the year 1217, the year in which Rabbi Judah ben Samuel ben Kalonymus, "the Pious," died. Rabbi Eleazar mourns his great teacher's death and describes his situation after this event as one of complete loneliness: He has no son or student to whom he can transmit the "wisdom". The long chain of misfortunes that began with the great catastrophe of 1096 -- the massacres by the Crusaders -- has caused the decline of the esoteric tradition, and after the death of Rabbi Judah all hope of keeping it alive, so he seems to be saying, has been lost. It is his duty, therefore, to write down the secrets of the esoteric traditions that he received from his ancestors and his teacher, because otherwise they will be completely lost ...

  ... The main subject presented in Sefer ha-Chockmah is the list of the seventy three "gates of wisdom," and the detailed exposition of most of them. The number of these "gates" is determined by the numerical value of the Hebrew word for wisdom (chockmah) ...

If we try to summarize in a systematic manner the hermeneutical system that is expressed in Rabbi Eleazar's list, following his own purpose in the Sefer ha-Chockmah as a methodological introduction to the hermeneutical analysis of a biblical verse, using modern terminology rather than his own, it seems to me taht we will reach the following conclusions:

1.   On the level of content, each biblical verse should be viewed as a key to more than twenty conceptual subjects. [13]
[13]   Among such works we should include Rabbi Judah the Pious's Sefer ha-Kavod and Sefer Malchim, dealing, respectively with the divine glory and the angels. Rabbi Eleazar's Sodey Razaya as based completely on this section of the list and covers a dozen or more subjects in the five titles of the books included in it (The Secret of Creation, The Secret of the Merkavah, The Holy Name, The Soul and the Sefer Yezirah). The introduction includes the ethical subjects, and others, which are chapters in these books, like the Kavod and Malachim, which are titles within the Secret of the Chariot.
Joseph Dan, Jewish Mysticism, Vol II: The Middle Ages, The Ashkenazi Hasidic Concept of Language, p. 68, 75