Sepher Yetsira 1:1-2

Sepher Yetsira Index | Text

Sepher Yetsira / Sefer Yetzirah: Book of Formation: trans. Carlo Suares, 1976, Aryeh Kaplan 1990
By thirty-two intermediaries YHWH projects Shem
Phayliot Nativot WeShtaim BeShlashim   1 Mishna
By Thirty-Two Nativot-Phayliot
With 32 mystical paths of Wisdom
Tseboat YHWH Yah Hhaqaq Hhokhmah    
Hhokmah carved (established or limited) Yah YHWY Tsebaot
engraved Yah the Lord of Hosts
El Shaddai Oulam Wemelekh Hha'im Elohim Israel Elohi
The Name in 42 Letters
Elohi Israel Elohim Hhaim Wemelekh Oulam El Schaddai
the God of Israel the living God King of the universe El Shaddai
Weqodosh 'Ad Maroum Schokan Venesha Ram Vehhenoun Rahhoum
The Name in 72 Letters
merciful clement magnified raised up (or respected) (who) lives (in) eternity (of) elevation and Holy (is)
Merciful and Gracious High and Exalted Dwelling in eternity whose name is Holy
and creates everything with three spheres
Be Sepher Sepherim Shalosha Oulamou Et Ve Bara Shemou
his name (which has) created his universe with (or by) three Sepharim (:) with Sepher
-- He is lofty and holy -- And He created His universe with three books
      Ve Siphour Ve Sephar    
Sepher and Sipour.
with text (Sepher) with number (Sephar) and with communications (Sippur)
Ve Shtaim Ve Esserim Belimah Sephirot Esser   Mishna 2
Ten Sephirot Beli-Mah and twenty-two
Ten Sefirot of Nothingness
  Kaphoulot Ve Sheva Amot Shalash Yassod Autiot
Autiot Yassod; three Mothers, seven doubles
And 22 Foundation Letters: Three Mothers, Seven Doubles
      Pheshoutot Esserah Ve Shtaim  
and twelve simples.
And twelve Elementals
10 Complete Responses and 22 Formative Letters: 3 Matrix 7 Dual and 12 Single
  Sepher Yetsira: Index
  Note: three Sheen in the first verse

The First Two Verses

By thirty-two Nativot-Phayliot Hhokmah carved (established or limited) Yah YHWH Tsebaot Elohi Israel Elohim Hhaim Wemelekh Oulam El Schaddai merciful clement magnified raised up (or respected) (who) lives (in) eternity (of) elevation (and) Holy (is) his name (which has) created his universe with (or by) three Sepharim ( : ) with Sepher Sepher and Sipour.

In beginning the Yetsira with Bayt, the first sign in Genesis, its authors show their firm intention to start with Bara, which propounds a scientific study of the relations between Aleph, Intemporal Consciousness, and Bayt, their physical framework. If the Yetsira is a commentary on Genesis it adds to the subject of Beresheet by treating it from the inside; that is to say, by beginning with the meaning of the Autiot. But as the cipher of the code got lost, Genesis became a canonised mythology whose only relation to the original meaning is to be its opposite, whilst the Yetsira has been left out of the rabbinical tradition. And as it is not canonical there are various, differing versions of it. Pethsps there is no harm in that, for (see 1,4) it invites us to reflect on it personally, rather than find in these pages a documentation which it would to consult. Are not all religions and all the sciences quests -- and more or less mistaken assertions - - for the relationship between the Universe and ourselves?

In putting Aleph in a pre-eminent position, the Qabala develops a rational and logical thought. Aleph, Consciousness both in intemporal and Universal life, is everywhere and in everything but acts in our space-time coninuum only through two agents, Sheen and Seen (300). We have defined the Autiot often enough not to stop at every turn (as we had to do in The Cipher of Genesis). However, let us establish the fundamental role of Sheen, from the beginning, and note that the sign is written twice in the first line of Beresheet, three times in the first line of the Yetsira and four times in the first line of The Song of Songs: these are three ways of apprehending the same subject, which is up to the reader to understand.

Let us begin by reading the first verse: Beschlaschim We-schaim: times 32 ... but take care: Shtaim is the feminine absolute of No. 2 (the masculine being Shnaim). As to the Schlaschim we realise that it means 30 only in reading it, bcause, 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 fertilisation of Mem by Waw: it acts on Tav and complete 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 ( is no less clearly an Aleph (Aleph-Lammed-Phay) ( also spelt backwards, into which a Yod, preceding the Aleph, is inserted.

Recalling verse 11,5, where it is said: Aleph Wilh all, and all with Aleph, Bayt with all and all Wilh Bayl, 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 physical frameworks.

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 coniousness (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 , Bayt and Nativot have opposite meanings.

1. Hhokmah is the name of the 2nd Sephira which according to the Qabala, begot the Autiot.

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 two-fold current of life corrresponds to Jacob's ladder, 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, etc.

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-A1eph-Waw-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 suffx 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 Weschtiin 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, path-ways, 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 not to hand over to the non-initiated 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.

We come to the fifth word of our verse, and it is logical that it is Hhokmah (Hhayt-Kaf-Mem-Hay:, which defines intelligence as, at one and the same time, a feminine synbol, knowledge and wisdom; in short, as awoken consciousness. The Autiot forming the equation Hhokmah express the reservoir of undifferentiated, primordial energy asserting its active existence from which the developing flow surges in search of the lost unity.

Such is the role of consciousness, as it is of the 2nd Sephira which, as we have said, begets the Autiot; Hhokmah shows reality upside down. To show it thus is to present it in the way that an imprint is the hollow of a plenum, or the plenum Of a hollow, left by a shape given to a body. If the surface is supple, living and active it reflects the energy which has punched it out. This return shock is the language of the Autiot Uttered by thought which receives and drives along the game of life, death and existence.

The same flow, stream and intensity of life strikes consciousness and is reprojected by it, overtaken in its closest secret by the maturation which overthrows its bulwarks. It can no longer deny that the interplay of the Autiot is different from their intimations. The identity of meaning and its significant number, as 2nd Sephira, which we emphasise, is a mysterious Passage across "a psychic high frequency," a continuous perception due to an ultra rapid and constant vibration: life-death-life-death of conscious being.

The shock of life to awoken consciousness-non-conscious being, and the return shock, are the two fulgurations of Hhaqaq (Hhayt-Qof.Qof; 8.100.100), the equation following Hhokmah. It is translated, very badly, as "limited" or "pitted."

Hhaqaq is a verb. In Hebrew the word expressing action precedes the name of the active agent. We will now examine this name. But let us recall what has been read up to here: Beschlaschim Weschtaim Nativot-Phayliot Hhockmah Hhaqaq ...

Though having by no tneans completely solved these equations, wc think we have clarified them enough to allow students to study them further. Next come the names of the active agent (in the myth, "God"). They are given in nineteen equations, eleven of which are, strictly speaking, "The Name," and eight of which are attributes.

In the first eleven "names" fifteen Autiot are composed so as to become, with certain repetitions, forty-two signs.

In the eight which follow, eleven Autiot become thirty signs.

The forty-two signs of "Names" are the forty-two often mentioned by the cabalists. According to the Zohar all forms in the world come from the forty-two letters crowning the sacred Name. The world has been moulded by the letters of the sacred Name; therefore their role in the Name is the reverse of what they are in the world. (We have already made this reverse role clear.)

These forty-two, to which thirty are added, compose "The Name of seventy-two letters" which has given rise to numerous speculations about angels. This is not surprising as we have seen that the Autiot, mediating between intemporal and temporal, serve the function attributed to angels in deistic mythology. As to the assertion that the Autiot -- according to the Zohar -- have "a role the reverse of what they are in the world" (sic) we have just seen that when the symbolism is reduced to its essentials, it refers to the reality of Hhokmah, reflected consciousness.

The names transcribed into forty-two Autiot are: YAH, YHWH, TSEBAOT, ELOHI, ISRAEL, ELOHIM, HHAIM, WAMELEKH, OULAM EL, and SCHADDAI. When decoded they show as from within, the diminuation of Energy operated by the ten Sephirot.

YAH: Yod-Hay expresses life alive.

YHWH. We know this equation.(1)   Briefly, it expresses Life fulfilled, perfected by the mutual fertilisation of its two lives, Hay and Hay (container and contents, etc.) In the world of becoming is immanent in potentiality of being.

TSEBAOT, too often translated "Lord of Hosts." This equation is, by the entry of Tsadde (90), the logical continuation of the preceeding one, YHWH, one of whose two Hay, of necessity refers to the "feminine," vital flow, in the widest meaning. Tsebaot: Tsadde-Bayt-Aleph, with the feminine plural suffix Waw-Tav, expresses the constructive action of Tsadde (90) in causing Aleph to emerge from Bayt. Remember that Aleph is buried in Erets (Aleph-Raysh-Tsadde). Tseba is inverted. Its Hebrew meaning of "gathering," or "reunion" is quite close to "construction."

ELOHI ISRAEL. These two words do not need a lengthy explanation. Elohi (Aleph-Lammed-Hay-Yod) expresses the fact that Aleph confers an organic movement (Lammed) on life (Hay) and the living (Yod). As for Israel (Yod-Seen-Raysh-Aleph-Lammed) it expresses the answer of the living (Yod) to Aleph-Lammed, through Seen and Raysh.

ELOHIM HHAIM. Eloh spreads by means of the masculine plural suffix. Elohim is energy living in the constructive process. The final Mem indicates that the process has completed its course, so to say, in getting in touch with the origin Of all operative organic life. Hhaim (Hhayt-Yod-Yod-Mem) which accompanies it is strange. Hhai (Hhayt-Yod) means "living," in Hebrew, Here, as in Elohim, it is a plural called singular. It is the presence of the two Yod in it that matters. The binomial Elohim-Hhaim (which we shall meet again in the 1st Sephira) indicates the double direction, "the going and coming," of the flow of cosmic life. Having reached Mem, the vital current sets out again from Hhayt (8), from undifferentiated life, having acquired two Yod (two structures),

1 See The Cipher of Genesis.

and rejoins Elohim in the fertilised Mem. (We have seen that the suffix Im indicates a structuring energy.)

WAMELEKH OULAM means "and king of all" in Hebrew. Actually Melekh (Mem-Lammed-Khaf), that is, 40.30.20/500) results from the previous equation. It shows that the Lammed of organic life is conferred on Mem, the former passing from 20 to the final 500 of cosmic life. And Oulam (Ayn-Lammed-Mem): 70.30.40/600) in fact expresses "the whole," but by elucidating what this "whole" is: the 70 of all realised possible possibilities, the 30 of all organic life and the final Mem affirm it. (Note that the root of the schema, Melekh, is the tenth and last Sephira, Malkout.)

EL SCHADDAI, Aleph-Lammed-Sheen-Da11et-Yod. This is the last equation of this enumeration. It is easily decoded as it says what the Qabala never ceases repeating in a thousand different ways from different points of view. Here we see the action of Al (Aleph) exerting itself on Dallet and Yod through Sheen.

It is not necessary to overload an account of the eight following words with an analysis (as has just been done for the "Name" in forty-two Autiot). These "attributes" -- Rahhoum Wehhanoun, Ram Wenascha Schokan Aad Maroum Wegadosch -- can be deciphered by the usual code. Their thirty signs add nothing significant to the forty-two preceding them, Moreover, the Qabala considers that the "Name" is more important in forty-two Autiot than in seventy-two.

Now we come to Schemou, translated as "His Name." But in order not to lose the thread of the first phrase of The Sepher Yetsira, let us sununarise it by substituting the meaning (so to speak, the infinite meaning of these equations) for the words that serve our purpose: By thirty-two intermediaries YHWH projects Schem.

Schemou (Sheen-Mem-Waw: 300.40.6) is such a shrewd digest that it has given rise to the notion that every individual is a personification of the name he bears, a notion whose origin can be seen in the ontological Ineaning of the Autiot. Sheen expresses the action of the universal, organic movement. Mem is the material of the subject. Waw is the fertilisation of this substance by Sheen. This direct bond bctwccn a subject and living cosnmic energy is, as we have seen in this linguistics, its method of description: the subject is defined according to the function of the position it occupies in the hierarchy of structures. The ensembles being countless, when a name is pronounced, it has analogous repercussions at the same level of structuration throughout the possible entities. If the Qabala is not interpreted with this way of thinking it is a dead letter and the Bible discloses nothing.

Now the Schem of YHWH-Elohim is at a level of perpetual, intemporal creation, always new, flowing in space and time, whose nature eludes human awareness. It is, in fact, illustrated by Bara (Bayt-Raysh-Aleph) which follows Schemou: We Bara Eth Oulamou ("created he all"). These words are familiar to us.

The last assertion that ends the 1st verse is: "Created he all with three Sepharim: Sepher, and Sephour and Sipour" (Sephour: that which is counted; Sipour, that which is related).(1)   The reader has in front of him the gamut of interpretations of the signs of the world gathered together into their whole. Does not one speak of "The Book of Nature"? Does not one speak of "Interpreting the Universe"? Is not the celestial "sphere," putting the observer in the middle of his own space, a current expression?

We recognise the three Sepharim of the world in perpetual Creation: they are the sphere of numbers where everything is in mathematical equations; the physico-chemical sphere of formulae for the constitution of bodies and their transformations, and, finally, the Sipour where the events of life, death and existence are inscribed.

Thus ends the first verse.

1. As the text has no vowels (points) one can introduce those considered to be the most adequate.

The second verse is strictly limited to these words: Ten Sephirot Bcli-Mah and twenty-two Autiot-Yassod; three Mothers, seven doubles and twelve simples. All the following verses. to thc end of the first chapter, deal with the Sephirot exclusively, the Autiot intervening only as agents. The direct study of thc classification of the Autiot (3, 7 and 12) only begins in the second chapter.

Therefore let us examine the meaning of Sephirot-Belimah. We see that the root of the Sephirot is the same as Sepherim's. Yet there is one Yod more: Sammekh-Phay-Yod-Raysh, instead of Sammekh-Phay-Raysh, and the suffx is feminine plural, instead of masculine plural, to express their character: they reduce the potential energy and shepherd it into differentiations relative to existence as actually experienced.

In the text of The Sepher Yetsira, Belimah is sometimes written in one word, sometimes in two: Beli-Mah. In one word, in Hebrew, it signifies a restraint, a fetter, an obstacle. In two words: Beli "without," Mah, "what?" This proposition is most enigmatic but also perhaps the most suggestive.

The key of Belimah, however, is not in the Hebrew tongue whose ontological origin is forgotten. We have said that the Sephirot are derived from the energy of Elohim. Let us present the schemas Elohim and Belimah together:

Elohim; Aleph-Lammed - Hay-Yod-Mem
Belimah: Bayt-Lammed - Yod-Mem-Hay

This relation illustrates the double organic movement of life in a state of being. In fact, reading these two series of Autiot by the code it is seen that Belimah is the response of Bayt, the archetype of all physical support, to the Elohim process. The Aleph-Lammed-Hay-Yod-Mem ( of Elohim indicates that Aleph (l), in exerting its biological action Lammed (30), on life, Hay (5), enters into existence, Yod, (10), , in the midst of Mem, (40), where the whole of organic life is born. The Bayt-Lammed-Yod-Mem-Hay of Belimah. shows how, in return, the organic movement Lammed (30) is engendered by Bayt (2). In these sequences the inversion of their three finals is most remarkable: Hay-Yod-Mem for Elohim and Yod-Mem-Hay for Belimah. In one, life confers existence on Mem; in the other, the existence of Mem engenders life.

Often the Ancients secretly put their knowledge of the One in the minutest detail.

22 Autiot Yassod + Finals
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