Sepher Yetzirah Two



1. There are twenty-two basic (sounds and) letters. Three are the first elements (water, air, fire), fundamentals, or mothers; seven are double letters; and twelve are simple letters. The three fundamental letters א מ ש have as their basis the balance. At one end of the scale are the virtues and at the other the vices, placed in equilibrium by the tongue. Of the fundamental letters מ (M) is mute like the water, ש (Sh) hissing like fire, א (A) a reconciling breath between them.

2. The twenty-two basic letters having been designed, appointed, and established [יסוד: Yesod, foundation] by God, He combined, weighed, and exchanged them (each with the others), and formed by them all beings which are in existence, and all which will be formed in time to come.

3. He established twenty-two basic letters, formed by the voice and impressed upon the air by the breath. He set them to be audibly uttered in five different parts of the human mouth: namely, Gutturals, א ה ח ע; Palatals, ג י כ ק; Linguals, ד ט ל נ ת Dentals, ז ש ס ר ץ; Labials, ב ו מ ף.

4. He fixed the twenty-two basic letters in a ring (sphere) like a wall with two hundred and thirty-one gates, and turned the sphere forward and backward. Turned forward, the sphere signified good; when reversed, evil. Three letters may serve for an illustration: There is nothing better than ע נ ג (O, N, G), pleasure (joy), and nothing worse than נ ג ע (N, G, O), plague (sorrow).

5. How was it all accomplished? He combined, weighed, and changed: the א (A) with all the other letters in succession, and all the others again with א (A), and all again with ב (B); and so with the whole series of letters. Hence it follows that there are two hundred and thirty-one formations, or gates, through which the powers of the letters go forth; every creature and every language proceeded from One Name and the combinations of its letters.

6. He created a reality out of Nothing [אין: Ain]. He called the nonentity into existence and hewed colossal pillars from intangible air. This has been shown by the example of combining the letter א (A) with all the other letters, and all the other letters with א. By speaking He created every creature and every word by the power of One Name. As an illustration, consider the twenty-two elementary substances from the primitive substance of א. The production of every creature from the twenty-two letters is proof that they are in reality the twenty-two parts of one living body.

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