Because each of the sefirot act as independent forces, Isaac Luria's attribution of the Iggulim independent "Circles" arrangement of the sefirot without cooperation, their immature vessels are weak. From the destruction of this primordial realm, the World of Tohu "Chaos" , is built the subsequent World of Tikun "Rectification" , characterized by lower lights and stronger vessels. The sublime lights of Tohu withdraw into the Ein Sof, while their sefirot vessels shatter down Creation.
Sparks of the original high lights remain attached in exile to the descending fragments, and the Messianic task is the redemption of all the holy sparks of Tohu. In the World of Tikun in contrast, the sefirot vessels are mature, stronger and act together in harmony. This systemised the classic concept of the Partzufim as the secondary, evolved arrangements of the sefirot in Creation.
And God said let there be Light", the ability of the harmonised sefirot of Tikun to reveal Divinity and enact stable Creation. The Lurianic doctrine of the shattering of the emotional sefirot vessels describes the esoteric meaning of Genesis and I Chronicles Edom is described in Genesis as the descendants of Esau. In the Kabbalistic scheme, this is identified with unrectified Gevurah - Severity, the source of the vessels of the World of Tohu - Chaos.
The eight kings listed who reigned in Edom before any king of Israel, embodied the eight sefirot of Daat to Malchut in the World of Tohu , the vessels that shattered. Of each it says they lived and died, death connoting the soul-light of the sefirot ascending back to its source, while the body-vessel descends-shatters.
Attached to the broken vessels are the holy residues of the former light as Nitzot - "Sparks" of holiness, sustaining Creation by the Divine flow of Will. The sparks are the creative force of the sefirot down the Four Worlds. The unabsorbed residue of the broken vessels in our physical, lowest World Assiah becomes the realm of Kelipot impurity. Genesis , " And the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. The four realms of our created existence are together called the World of Tikkun "Fixing". In Tikkun, the sefirot evolve into new arrangements, where they can unite. The different realms Tikkun are characterized by lower lights and stronger vessels.
Subsequent to the interinclusion of the 10 sefirot within each other, in Lurianic Kabbalah they then develop into " partzufim " "personas". In the Zohar, Shimon bar Yochai expounds upon the spiritual roles of the partzufim, by talking about them as independent spiritual manifestations. Lurianic Kabbalah focused on the role of the Parsufim as the fully evolved stage of the primordial evolution of the sefirot, in the beginning of Creation.
Instead of each of the 10 sefirot merely including a full subset of 10 sefirot as latent potential forces, the first stage of their evolution, in the Parsufim the sefirot become fully autonomous and interrelated. The name of each partzuf denotes that the sefirah from which it derived, has now become an independent scheme of 10 fully functioning sefirot in the "Upright" Yosher form of "Man". This reconfiguration is essential in Lurianic Kabbalah to enable the opposing spiritual forces of the sefirot to work together in harmony.
Each Parsuf now operates independently, and unites with the other Parsufim. So, for example, "The Long Visage" is said to descend, and become enclothed within the lower Parsufim.
The sefirot now harmonise, to enable the Lurianic scheme of Tikkun Rectification to begin. The names of the fundamental partzufim and their English translations:. As all levels of Creation are constructed around the 10 sefirot, their names in Kabbalah describe the particular role each plays in forming reality.
These are the external dimensions of the sefirot, describing their functional roles in channelling the Divine, creative Ohr Light to all levels. As the sefirot are viewed to comprise both metaphorical "lights" and " vessels ", their structural role describes the particular identity each sefirah possesses from its characteristic vessel. Underlying this functional structure of the sefirot, each one possesses a hidden, inner spiritual motivation that inspires its activity. This forms the particular characteristic of inner light within each sefirah.
Understanding the sefirot throughout Jewish mysticism is achieved by their correspondence to the human soul. This applies to the outer, Kabbalistic structure of the sefirot. It applies even more to their inner dimensions, which correspond to inner psychological qualities in human perception. Identifying the essential spiritual properties of the soul gives the best insight into their Divine source, and in the process reveals the spiritual beauty of the soul.
Hasidism sought the internalisation of the abstract ideas of Kabbalah, both outwardly in joyful sincerity of dveikus in daily life, acts of loving-kindness and prayer; and inwardly in its profound new articulation of Jewish mystical thought, by relating it to the inner life of man. Hasidut looks at the lights that fill these vessels, how the structures reveal the Divine essence, and how this inwardness can be perceived. This difference can be seen in the names of these two stages of Jewish mysticism.
The names of the sefirot come from Kabbalah, and describe the Divine effect that each has upon Creation, but not their inner qualities. Hasidic thought uses new descriptive terms for the inner dimensions of the sefirot:  . These ten levels are associated with Kabbalah's Zohar four different "Worlds" or planes of existence, the main part from the perspective of the descending "chain of progression" Seder hishtalshelus , that links the Infinite Divine Ein Sof with the finite, physical realm. In all Worlds, the 10 sefirot radiate, and are the Divine channels through which every level is continuously created from nothing.
Since they are the attributes through which the unknowable, infinite Divine essence becomes revealed to the creations, all ten emanate in each World. Nonetheless, the structure of the Four Worlds arises because in each one, certain sefirot predominate. Each World is spiritual, apart from the lower aspect of the final World, which is the "Asiyah Gashmi" "Physical Asiyah" , the physical Universe.
Each World is progressively grosser and further removed from consciousness of the Divine, until in this World it is possible to deny God. In descending order:. In the Zohar and elsewhere, there are these four Worlds or planes of existence.
In the Lurianic system of Kabbalah, five Worlds are counted, comprising these and a higher, fifth plane, Adam Kadmon-manifest Godhead level [ clarification needed ] , that mediates between the Ein Sof and the four lower Worlds. As the four Worlds link the Infinite with this realm, they also enable the soul to ascend in devotion or mystical states, towards the Divine.
Each World can be understood as descriptive of dimensional levels of intentionality related to the natural human "desire to receive", and a method for the soul's progress upward toward unity with or return to the Creator.
The terminology of this formulation is based on the exposition of Lurianic Kabbalah by the 20th century Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag. The sefiroth are organized into three discrete columns or gimel kavim "three lines" in Hebrew. They are often referred to as the three "Fathers," are derived from the three "Mothers," and are attributed to the vowels Vav, Yud, and Heh. They are as follows:. Kether heads the central column of the tree, which is known metaphorically speaking as the "Pillar of Mildness" and is associated with Hebrew letter Aleph, "the breath", and the air element.
It is a neutral one, a balance between the two opposing forces of female and male tendencies. Some teachings describe the sefirot on the centre pillar as gender-neutral, while others say that the sefirot vary in their sexual attributions.
Chokhmah heads the right column of the tree, metaphorically speaking the "Pillar of Mercy", associated with the Hebrew letter Shin, the fire element, and the male aspect;. The left column is headed by Binah and is called the "Pillar of Severity. While the pillars are each given a sexual attribution, this does not mean that every sefirah on a given pillar has the same sexual attribution as the pillar on which they sit. In Jewish Kabbalah, of all the sefirot only Binah and Malkuth are considered female, while all the other sefirot are male.
Additionally and this applies to both Jewish and Hermetic Kabbalah , each sefirah is seen as male in relation to the following sefirah in succession on the tree, and female in relation to the foregoing sefirah. Alternative traditions consider the grammatical genders of the words involved. Thus, Gevurah is feminine because it has an atonal finial Heh.
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Thus, Severity or Justice becomes a feminine attribute while Chesed Mercy or Loving-kindness becomes a masculine one, despite the modern Western tendency to genderize these terms in reverse manner. In a numerological sense, the tree of sefirot also has significance. Between the 10 sefirot run 22 channels or paths which connect them, a number which can be associated with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Together the spiritual forces of the 10 sefirot and the 22 connecting channels are called the "32 Paths of Wisdom". As to the actual significance of the numbers 10 and 22 in context of Judaism goes into Kabbalistic interpretation of Genesis. As for the 22 letter-paths, there must first be an explanation of the three different types of letters in Hebrew.