This phrase, "paths miraculous" is the first of a series of equation-pairs whose meaning lies
at the heart of Qabalistic thought and which have always been misunderstood in "learned"
Unable to penetrate the code of these equations, commentators have generally ignored the qualifiers as simply
The Hebrew word for "paths" here is Netivot ... a word that occurs only rarely in scripture.
Much more common is the word Derekh (Dallet-Raysh-Khaf). As the Zohar states, however, there is an important
difference between these two words. A Derekh is a public road, a route used by all people. A
Nativ, on the other hand, is a personal route, a path blazed by each individual for his personal
use ... The 32 paths of Wisdom are therefore called Netivot.
These paths are said to be mystical, Peliyot. The comes from the root Pala ... which
has the connotation of being hidden and separated from the world at large ... This is very closely related
to the word Peleh meaning a miracle ... According to the Zohar, he word Peleh specifically relates to the
paths of Wisdom ... The Sefer Yetzirah later calls the three Mothers, "a great mystical (muPhLA) secret" (3:2).
The first of the three Mothers is Aleph (Aleph) When spelled out, Aleph (Aleph-Lammed-Play) has the same letters
as Peleh (Pay-Lammed-Aleph).
Kaplan, The Sefer Yetzirah, p.10-11
The interesting question is why Kaplan can see the reverse Aleph in Phaylia (even if buried in
associative speculation and displacement from its original location) but not the reverse Bayt in Netiv.
If the obviousness of Aleph/Phaylia had to be accounted for, and it was, safely moved to 3:2,
how much more the double obviousness of Alef-Bet/Netivot Playliot? There are apparently some
paths that need to be avoided.
In fact, there is much more to be said about the third and fourth words of the Sepher Yetsira.
without resorting to metaphysical or mystical speculation. Nativot-Phayliot state and
embody a theme which will be elaborated throughout the book Yetsira. Either we understand these
words at the beginning, or we understand nothing of the true meaning of the Sepher Yetsira.
Discarding the plural endings:
It becomes clear that our "Wondrous Paths" are mirror-images of the first two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet,
as if we are reading an Aleph-Bayt projected towards us on a transparent screen.
By Thirty-Two reverse projections of the Alephabet ...
If we understand that we are dealing with a description of the manifestation in space-time of
cosmic energies that are beyond space-time, we will recognize the addition of the Noun to
Bayt and the Yod to Aleph, as they pass into space-time and not only reverse their energies,
but acquire actual and factual existences, as explained below.
Instead of getting lost in wonderous or mysterious paths, we are suddenly at the heart of the Qabalistic
revelation. We are shown at the beginning precisely what these "intermediaries" consist of. In this
remarkable passage, Suares begins his explication of the first verse of the Sepher Yetsira , revealing
these "paths" for what they are (in their structural-energetic translations) for the first time. As we
will see, the Sepher Yetsira is as "tightly-coded" as the beginning of Genesis, on which it
is a commentary, and every letter is significant and part of a whole.
Nativot-Phayliot is the first of the three double equations found in the first two verses
of the Sepher Yetsira . Each is a complete and logical statement of a double energy and together
are presented as the means, or intermediaries, of formative creation: Mysterious Paths,
Foundation Letters and
Spheres of Nothingness, as they are "translated."
With these three dual energies, Ha-Shem (the name in 72 letters, from "Yah YHWH" through "Ve-Qadosh" in the first verse)
"creates" the universe. Or
"By thirty-two intermediaries,
YHWH projects Schem" into creation.
All these equations can, and must, be analyzed in terms of their inner, structural meaning and
role in the process of formation and manifestation.
We are confronted here with proof that a mythological or any other idiomatic translation
of the Sepher Yetsira is useless. Each word is an equation specifiying energy in different
states of organization. There is as much room here for mythological or mystical phrases as
in a mathematical proof or physics equation.
Let us begin by reading the first verse: Beschlaschim Weschtaim: times 32 . . . but take care: Shtaim is the
feminine absolute of No. 2 (the masculine being Shnaim). As to the SchlaschYm we realise that it means 30
only in reading it, because, thanks to the code, the attribute of this language is that the meaning of words
is given only by the hand-writing. Note that the first Sheen (agent of Aleph, and therefore of Cosmic origin)
acts through Lammed as agent of Aleph, and that a second Sheen, put in motion by Lammed, acts on the extant
Yod. The third Sheen is introduced into Shtaim by the fertihisation of Mem by Waw: it acts on Tav and
completes the circuit. These indications are sufficient to define the intellectual significance of the Qabala.
It takes into consideration all energy and consciousness, which is energy, as returning to itself in a process
of self-induction, and not at all a single emanation originating from demiurgic creation, as the monotheistic
tradition has it. Now let us re-read the first words of the first verse: By thirty-two Nativot-Phayliot.
In order to understand these two words let us eliminate their feminine plural endings. Nativ: Noun-Tav-Yod-Vayt
(50.400.10.2) is clearly a Bayt (Bayt-Yod-Tav) spelt in reverse and preceded by a Noun. Phaylia:
Phay-Lammed-Yod-Aleph (22.214.171.124) is no less clearly an Aleph (Aleph-Lammed-Phay) also spelled backwards,
into which a Yod, preceding the Aleph, is inserted.
Recalling verse 11,5, where it is said: Aleph with all, and all with Aleph, Bayt with all and all with Bayt,
what does it mean here?
Let us suppose that we are facing through a pane of glass a tremendous flow of living energy, coming from
the highest level, which is composed of the inconceivable, intemporal Aleph, and of Bayt including all
Therefore, supposing we "see" that vital energy coming towards us, and writing its two names, Aleph and Bayt,
on the pane: On the right side is written Aleph-Lammed-Phay, and on the left, Bayt-Yod-Tav, in letters of light
(written from right to left, following Hebrew script).
We obviously see these Autiot in reverse. But, furthermore, Tav-Yod-Vayt must have a living existence in order
to pass through these transformers. For this purpose it is preceded here by a Noun (50) expressing this life.
And there must also be the Yod (10) of existence, in which Phay-Lammed-Aleph "lowers itself." It is in its exact
place there, between Lammed and Aleph.
Nativot-Phayliot are feminine plural, just like the Sephirot and Autiot (we have explained the Waw-Tav above).
They constitute the category in which the twenty-two and the ten can be added together. This category is the
level where things appear in reverse, in harmony with the vital energy. Our consciousness (Hhokmah) 1 belongs
to this level. Things which have a most solid appearance (stones, metals) are the deepest "sleep" of Aleph.
Aleph fully "awake" is beyond our perception. In brief, the living infinite Energy has its manifestation
reversed: an important postulate to start with.
Thus Aleph and Phayliot, Bayt and Nativot have opposite meanings.
Going on with our mental picture we have now to study Phayliot and Nativot acting as a vital current flowing
in the opposite direction to that which we have shown. This twofold current of life corresponds to
to the action of the Autiot as has been defined above, as well as to the essential narratives in the
myth, such as Jonah's dive to "the roots of the mountain," Jesus's descent into the ground for three days,
If Aleph-Lammed-Phay show that the essential function of Aleph is to instigate an organic movement in the
undifferentiated energy of Phay, Phayliot (Phay-Lammed-Yod-AlephWaw-Tav) shows that the motion of the
evolutionary framework engendered by Phay acts on the existential Yod, thanks to which the buried Aleph
comes back to life. The feminine plural suffix frees abstract thought from its purely conceptual scope
and brings it into concrete manifestation.
Bayt-Yod-Tav shows that Bayt, "the containing," is, by the very fact of its existence, a single element
of Tav (400): that is to say, of all cosmic resistance to life, without which there would be no life.
Nativot (Noun-Tav-Yod-Vayt-Waw-Tav) shows that life is realised (Noun=50) fully in the universe, and
that this existence (Yod) is conferred on the perpetually changing body of the universe.
In short, the first four words of the first verse, Beschlaschim Weschtiam Nativot Phayliot invite us to
study thirty-two elements binding the energy of intemporal life to the visible universe, as conceived
and thought in human knowledge: that is to say, they are turned into the contrary of the real value of
their energy and life.
We see how misleading, superficial and indeed senseless are the generally accepted translations of Nativot
(paths, pathways, roads) and Phayliot (wonderful, mysterious, incomprehensible).
The obviousness of 32 being
the sum of 22 Autiot and 10 Sephirot appears as a screen or a snare to bewilder the amateur cabalists.
Not only is the summing-up of Sephirot and Autiot, as roads, inadequate, but adding them together is
rather like adding a number of electric transformers to the voltage which lights them. In number 32 there
is a secret key which it was very important not to hand over to the non-initiated, because it opens the
door to a conception of the first 4 Sephirot, respecting creative energy, that is hardly canonical.
We will examine it in discussing Verses 1,3 to 1,8.
Suares, The Sepher Yetsira Sepher Yetsira, Shambhala, 1976 pages 61-63
[ Emphasis added ]
Our Sages of blessed memory have said
that the letters mem samekh, which were engraved within the two tablets,
stood as a miracle
(the rings within these letters did not fall).
Isaac Luria, Gates of Perfection, Chapter 11
The letter mem makes a complete circle, marking off its center. The Talmud says the tablets
were engraved completely through the stone; thus, this central part of the mem stood by itself in mid-air!
Eliahu Klein Kabbalah of Creation: Isaac Luria's Earlier Mysticism, Aronson, 2000, p.195-196
It is well known in Kabbalah that God's name, Elohim, appears thirty-two times during the story of creation,
from the beginning of Genesis through the sixth day. These represent the powers of the thirty-two paths in creation.
The Idra Rabba: "Wisdom, the beginning of all -- from it stretch
thirty-two paths and the Torah is filled with them, in twenty-two letters and ten statements."
The first letter of the Torah, Bayt, and the last, Lammed, total 32. Read in reverse,
Lammed-Vayt is the Hebrew word for Heart, "Lev". The paths are the heart of creation.
The Gematria of Netiv is 462, 22 X 21, or all the combinations of 22 letters two at a time
(2 X 231 Gates).
From Leonard R. Glotzer, Fundamentals of Jewish Mysticism, The Book of Creation and Its Commentaries, Aronson, 1992,