For Hermetic Qabalah, see: Qabalah

The Kabbalah, or Kabalah, is the traditional Jewish mystical system that delineates two porcesses; the first - called the "Maaseh B'reshit" or "Work of Creation" - offers reasoned arguments as to how the Absolute Unity of the Divine made possible the existence of separate intelligences with the capacity to choose either "Evil" or "Good" (the problem this addresses is that, if the Divine Will encompasses all of Creation, how is it unclear to those who live in it, and how do they have the ability to defy it). The second - called the "Maaseh Merkavah" or "Work of the Chariot" - is a process of united the separate consciousness of the individual with its Divine Source. The Tree of Life model overlaps with the fourfold mysteries of the Divine Name known as the Tetragrammaton. Both the Tree of Life and the Tetragrammaton delineate interdependent processes whereby multiplicity of consciousness and form evolve from the absolute Unity of Deity [1], and ultimately provide the means of Return ("Tshuvah") to individual consciousness of that Source.

The Kabbalah teaches that all things emanate from the infinite universe into ten different categorical aspects, called the sephiroth. The most common model of the connections of these categories are called the Tree of Life and can be used as a formula to describe reality. The Tree of Life is organized into three columns of the ten sephiroth, the Pillar of Severity, Pillar of Mercy and Pillar of Mildness (Middle Pillar). This model is inherent to both the Maaseh B'reshit and the Maaseh Merkavah, the former being the process of existence - with it multiplicity of parts, divisions, and consciousnesses - unfolding from the Absolute Unity of the Divine State, the latter is the process of transcending the limits of material existence to unite the individual soul with its Source -- but with the duty to then communicate this experience within ones actions in the material realm.

This system is at the root of many western mystical disciplines and is used to describe almost every aspect of the universe from the elements to God. The various stages of the unfolding of Creation (which are, in reverse, the stages of reunification) delineate the different levels of substance (from the purity of Divine Light down to the material elements) and of the soul (all parts of which are inherently Divine, but one part still purely "In God", down to that part immersed in the material body, with the illusory limitations of its appetites, instincts, and mortality). The basic division of these stages are the "sephiroth" (singular, "sephirah"), a word with the overlapping meanings of "Number" or "Counting", "Utterance", and "Writing".

Kabbalah cosmology Edit

In Kabbalah cosmology, the order of development of the evolution of creation (seder hishtalshelus), begins with the desire of the Primordial Ayn (G-d) to create the universe.[1] This occurs when G-d has Divine Self-Revelation. At which point G-d then has "Awareness" of the soul and body (Ayn and Yesh) and generates Ayn Sof, an infinite creative force.[2] Kabbalah considers whether the Ayn Sof represents God's Divine Essence or God as the First Cause. From the Divine Essence of Ayn Sof, He then produces what is known as, "G-d's Infinite Light" (Ohr Ayn Sof). The first creative process involves preparing a place of concealment for the universe to be built into. The place of concealment is called tzimtzum, because when the Divine Light was contracted, a vacant space was created. During the preparatory stages for creation, the Light of the Ohr Ayn Sof was so Divine that it needed to be dimmed in order for life to exist. From the creative force of the Ayn Sof, eminated ten sefirot designed to diffract the Divine Light.[3] However, this created a condition for all creations to perceive themselves as separate existences from their Creator.[4] Thus Tzimtzum became a place where "free will" exists. The resulting ten sefirot are energy emanations found on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life:[5]

000. Ayn (Nothing; אין)
00. Ayn Sof (Creative force; אין סוף)
0. Ohr Ayn Sof (Endless Light; אור אין סוף)
-.Tzimtzum (Contraction; צמצום)
  1. Keter (The Crown)
  2. Chokhmah (Wisdom)
  3. Binah (Understanding)
  4. Chesed (Mercy) or Gedulah (Magnanimity)
  5. Din (Judgement) or Gevurah (Power)
  6. Tiferet (Beauty)
  7. Netzach (Victory)
  8. Hod (Splendor)
  9. Yesod (Foundation)
  10. Malkuth (The Kingdom)

Kabbalah philosophyEdit

  • In the beginning, prior to the creation of Heaven and Earth, there existed G-d, and G-d alone. Where G-d came from is not a question. G-d is and has always been here (there and everywhere). G-d, in His ultimate essence, is all things, all space, all time, all consciousness, as well as all things that are the opposites of these things. G-d, in His ultimate essence, is unknowable by anything or anyone in creation, regardless of their level of closeness to the Divine source. G-d's ultimate essence in Hebrew is called the Ayn Sof.[6]
  • In accordance to the Great Rule, whatever there is above has its equal and opposite counterpart below. Whatever "Is", is the opposite of what "Is Not". They are two poles, consciousness and unconsciousness, sleep and awake, light and darkness, Ayn and Yesh. The form that something appears at one level is really its opposite at the higher level. What we call consciousness is really it's opposite. What we call asleep is really awake. What we call unconsciousness in this world is really Awareness.[7]
  • G-d is Primordial Consciousness, the Awareness that is the beginning. In our sleep the true Awareness, which is the Face of G-d, is dim to our view. Yet all Humans hear within their hearts a Voice calling out to them. Some rightly know this to be the Voice of G-d, others refer to it as the call of destiny. Some believe themselves to be following the Voice, by following the dimness of other Humans through the vehicle known as religious movements. Others believe themselves to be following the Voice by pursuing their own limited good, within this illusion we call time and space. These two paths are but the reflections of the Right and Left Columns of the Tree of Life, which is only the Body of G-d, and not G-d Him/Herself. In the present realm of time and space, we remain asleep, dull to the true awareness of G-d and His Tree. All we presently perceive is the darkness, which is the vacuum left after the light is blocked. Religion and personal pursuits are both good and evil within the present realms of time and space. But the time has come to transcend time and space. The light must now again pierce the darkness. What is, must be. The Ultimate Unity is to be recognized again in all things, thus removing from among the awakening ones the strife of diversity, caused by the apparent divisions in the realm of time and space.[8]

Tohu and TikunEdit

One of the key tenets of the Kabbalah (at least within it's original contexts) is that full Perfection exists only in the Material Realm, and it is the duty of humanity to make that Completion manifest ("Perfection" in the sense of "Fullness" and "Completion" - is the actual primary meanings of the Hebrew word Shalom, with "Peace" being a secondary connotation resulting from a state of Perfection and Completion in the material realm of the sephirah of Kingdom). This is in notable contrast with many other transcendental systems which view the material realm as a purely negative aspect of the spiritual process. In Kabbalah, the sephirah of Kingdom is ultimately the only realm of Perfection, as all of the other sephiroth exist merely to support its existence and enlightenment.

This process, which is (in Hebrew) a literal "Reformation" of the Worlds, is called the "Tikkun Olam"; "Reparation of the Universe".

Other concepts in KabbalahEdit


  1. Rabbi Ariel (1996). The Ten Sefirot, p. 2
  2. Rabbi Ariel (1993). Seder HaHish'tal'sh'lut, p. 7-9
  3. Rabbi Ariel (1996). The Ten Sefirot, p. 4
  4. Rabbi Ariel (1996). The Ten Sefirot, p. 2, 3
  5. Scholem (1974), p.88
  6. Rabbi Ariel (1996). The Ten Sefirot, p. 1, 2
  7. Rabbi Ariel (1993). Seder HaHish'tal'sh'lut, p. 10
  8. Rabbi Ariel (1993). Seder HaHish'tal'sh'lut, p. 7