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Sepher Yetzirah One

1. יהוה צבאות אלהים [Jehovah Sabaoth Elohim], King of the Universe, Omnipotent, the Merciful and Gracious God, Supreme and Extolled, Dweller in the Height whose habitation is Eternity, who is Sublime and Most-Holy, engraved His name and ordained (formed) and created the Universe in thirty-two mysterious paths (stages) of wisdom (science), by three Sepharim, namely, Numbers, Letters, and Sounds, which are in Him one and the same. [See Note 1, below]

kabbalah-the-tree-of-life2. Ten Sephiroth (ten properties from the Ineffable One) and twenty-two letters are the Foundation [יסוד: Yesod] of all things. Of these twenty-two letters three are called "Mothers," seven "Double," and twelve "Simple." [See Note 2]

3. The ten numbers (Sephiroth) out of Nothing [אין: Ain] are analogous to the ten fingers and the ten toes: five over against five. In the center between them is the covenant with the Only One God. In the spiritual world it is the covenant of the voice (the Word), and in the corporeal world the circumcision of the flesh (the rite of Abraham).

4. Ten are the numbers (of the Sephiroth) out of Nothing [אין: Ain], ten--not nine; ten--not eleven. Comprehend this great wisdom, understand this knowledge and be wise. Inquire into the mystery and ponder it. Examine all things by means of the ten Sephiroth. Restore the Word to Its Creator and lead the Creator back to His throne again. He is the only Formator and beside Him there is no other. His attributes are ten and are without limit.

5. The ten ineffable Sephiroth have ten infinitudes, which are as follows:

  • The infinite beginning and the infinite end;
  • The infinite good and the infinite evil;
  • The infinite height and the infinite depth;
  • The infinite East and the infinite West;
  • The infinite North and the infinite South;
  • and over them is the Lord Superlatively One, the faithful King. He rules over all in all from His holy habitation for ages of ages.

6. The appearance of the ten spheres (Sephiroth) out of Nothing is as a flash of lightning or a sparkling flame, and they are without beginning or end. The Word of God is in them when they go forth and when they return. They run by His order like a whirlwind and prostrate themselves before His throne.

7. The ten Sephiroth have their end linked to their beginning and their beginning linked to their end, cojoined as the flame is wedded to the live coal, for the Lord is Superlatively One and to Him there is no second. Before One what can you count?

8. Concerning the number (10) of the spheres of existence (Sephiroth) out of Nothing, seal up your lips and guard your heart as you consider them, and if your month opens for utterance and your heart turns towards thought, control them, returning to silence. So it is written: "And the living creatures ran and returned." (Ezekiel i. 14.) And on this wise was the covenant made with us,

9. These are the ten emanations of number out of Nothing:

1st. The spirit of the living Elohim, blessed and more than blessed be the living Elohim of ages. His Voice, His Spirit, and His Word are the Holy Spirit.

2nd. He produced air from the spirit and in the air. He formed and established twenty-two sounds--the letters. Three of them were fundamental, or mothers; seven were double; and twelve were simple (single); but the spirit is the first one and above all.

3rd. Primordial water He extracted from the air. He formed therein twenty-two letters and established them out of mud and loam, making them like a border, putting them up like a wall, and surrounding them as with a rampart. He poured snow upon them and it became earth, as it reads: "He said to the snow be thou earth." (Job. xxxvii. 6.)

4th. Fire (ether) He drew forth from the water. He engraved and established by it the Throne of Glory. He fashioned the Seraphim, the Ophanim, and the Holy Living Creatures (Cherubim?), as His ministering angels; and with (of) these three He formed His habitation, as it reads: "Who made His angels spirits, His ministers a flaming fire." (Psalms civ. 4.)


By arranging the four letters of the Great Name, י ה ו ה, (I H V H), in the form of the Pythagorean Tetractys, the 72 powers of the Great Name of God are manifested. The key to the problem is as follows:








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. . .







. . . .











The Great Name of God



5th. He selected three consonants (I, H, V) from the simple ones--a secret belonging to the three mothers, or first elements; א מ ש (A, M, Sh), air, water, fire (ether). He sealed them with His spirit and fashioned them into a Great Name and with this sealed the universe in six directions. He turned towards the above and sealed the height with י ה ו (I, H, V).

6th. He turned towards the below and sealed the depth withה י ו (H, I, V).

7th. He turned forward and sealed the East with ו י ה (V, I, H).

8th. He turned backward and sealed the West with ו ה י (V H, I).

9th. He turned to the right and sealed the South with י ו ה (I, V, H).

10th. He turned to the left and sealed the North with ה ו י (H, V, I).

NOTE. This arrangement of the letters of the Great Name is according to the Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalisch.

10. These are the ten ineffable existences out of nothing; From the spirit of the Living God emanated air; from the air, water; from the water, fire (ether); from the fire, the height and the depth, the East and the West, the North and the South.


Note One

The thirty-two paths are commonly accounted for as the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life plus the twenty-two Hebrew letters. Yet there are other meanings, such as thirty-two is the sum of the first and last letter of the Hebrew Pentateuch: Beth (2) plus Lamed (30).

Note Two

It should be noted that these three groups summarize all twenty-two letters (3 + 7 + 12 = 22).

The Three Mother Letters

  1. א Aleph: Air
  2. מ Mem: Water
  3. ש Shin: Fire

Seven Double Letters

  1. ב Beth
  2. ג Gimel
  3. ד Daleth
  4. כ Kaf
  5. פ Peh
  6. ר Resh
  7. ת Tav

Twelve Simple Letters

  1. ה Hei
  2. ו Vav
  3. ז Zayin
  4. ח Chet
  5. ט Teth
  6. י Iod
  7. ל Lamed
  8. נ Nun
  9. ס Samech
  10. ע Ayin
  11. צ Tzadi
  12. ק Kuf