The cardinal doctrines of the Kabbalah embrace the nature of the Deity, the Divine emanations or Sephiroth, the cosmogony, the creation of angels and man, their destiny, and the import of the revealed law.
As creation involves intention, desire, thought and work, and as these are properties which imply limit and belong to a finite being, and moreover as the imperfect and circumscribed nature of this creation precludes the idea of its being the direct work of the infinite and perfect, the En Soph had to become creative, through the medium of ten Sephiroth or intelligences, which emanated from him like rays proceeding from a luminary.
The ten Sephiroth, which form among themselves and with the 'En Soph a strict unity, and which simply represent different aspects of one and the same being, are respectively denominated (i) the Crown, (2) Wisdom, (3) Intelligence, (4) Love, (5) Justice, (6) Beauty, (7)iFirmness, (8) Splendour, (9) Foundation, and (io) Kingdom.
Pairs of Sephiroth successively emanated " (Zohar, iii.
From the junction of Sephiroth Nos.
In their totality and unity the ten Sephiroth are not only denominated the World of Sephiroth, or the World of Emanations, but, owing to the above representation, are called the primordial or archetypal man (_7rpwrOyovos) and the heavenly man.
According to this theory of the archetypal man the three Sephiroth on the right-hand side are masculine and represent the principle of rigour, the three on the left are feminine and represent the principle of mercy, and the four central or uniting Sephiroth represent the principle of mildness.
The middle Sephiroth are synecdochically used to represent the worlds or triads of which they are the uniting potencies.
So Beauty is by itself described as the Sensuous World, and in this capacity is called the Sacred King or simply the King, whilst Kingdom, the tenth Sephirah, which unites all the nine Sephiroth, is used to denote the Material World, and as such is denominated the Queen or the Matron.
" Just as the Sacred Aged is represented by the number three, so are all the other lights (Sephiroth) of a threefold nature " (Zohar, iii.
In this all-important doctrine of the Sephiroth, the Kabbalah insists upon the fact that these potencies are not creations of the En Soph, which would be a diminution of strength; that they form among themselves and with the En Soph a strict unity, and simply represent different aspects of the same being, just as the different rays which proceed from the light, and which appear different things to the eye, are only different manifestations of one and the same light; that for this reason they all alike partake of the perfections of the En Soph; and that as emanations from the Infinite, the Sephiroth are infinite and perfect like the En Soph, and yet constitute the first finite things.
The conjunction of the Sephiroth, or, according to the language of the Kabbalah, the union of the crowned King and Queen, produced the universe in their own image.
Worlds came into existence before the En Soph manifested himself in the human form of emanations, but they could not continue, and necessarily perished because the conditions of development which obtained with the sexual opposites of the Sephiroth did not exist.
Creation is not it is simply a further expansion or evolution of the Sephiroth.'
And, though it exhibits the Deity in less splendour than its Sephiric parents exhibit the En Soph, because it is farther removed from the primordial source of light than the Sephiroth, still, as it is God manifested, all the multifarious forms in the world point out the unity which they represent.
These ten Sephiroth) is produced (2) the World of Creation, or the Briatic world, also called " the Throne."
Its ten Sephiroth, being farther removed from the En Soph, are of a more limited and circumscribed potency, though the substances they comprise are of the purest nature and without any admixture of matter.
Its ten Sephiroth, being still farther removed from the Primordial Source, are of a less refined substance.
The myriads of the angelic hosts who people this world are divided into ten ranks, answering to the ten Sephiroth, and each one of these numerous angels is set over a different part of the universe, and derives his name from the heavenly body or element which he guards (Zohar, i.
Its ten Sephiroth are made up of the grosser elements of the former three worlds; they consist of material substance limited by space and perceptible to the senses in a multiplicity of forms. This world is subject to constant changes and corruption, and is the dwelling of the evil spirits.
The ten Sephiroth) who emanated from the highest primordial obscurity (i.e.
Like the Sephiroth from which it emanates, every soul has ten potencies, consisting of a trinity of triads.
(I) The Spirit (neshamah), which is the highest degree of being, corresponds to and is operated upon by the Crown, which is the highest triad in the Sephiroth, and is called the Intellectual World; (2) the Soul (rah), which is the seat of the moral qualities, corresponds to and is operated upon by Beauty, which is the second triad in the Sephiroth, and is called the Moral World; and (3) the Cruder Soul (nephesh), which is immediately connected with the body, and is the cause of its lower instincts and the animal life, corresponds to and is operated upon by Foundation, the third triad in the Sephiroth, called the Material World.
When the whole pleroma of preexistent souls in the world of the Sephiroth shall have descended and occupied human bodies and have passed their period of probation and have returned purified to the bosom of the infinite Source, then the soul of Messiah will descend from the region of souls; then the great Jubilee will commence.
4 (" let there be light ") and includes eleven dissertations: (I) " Additions and Supplements "; (2) " The Mansions and Abodes," describing the structure of paradise and hell; (3) "The Mysteries of the Pentateuch," describing the evolution of the Sephiroth, &c.; (4) " The Hidden Interpretation," deducing esoteric doctrine from the narratives in the Pentateuch; (5) " The Faithful Shepherd," recording discussions between Moses the faithful shepherd, the prophet Elijah and R.
Simon to his numerous assembly of disciples on the form of the Deity and on pneumatology; (10) " The Young Man," discourses by young men of superhuman origin on the mysteries of ablutions; and (I I) " The Small Assembly," containing the discourses on the Sephiroth which R.
Simon, its reputed author, and exalts him above Moses; (2) it mystically explains the Hebrew vowel points, which did not obtain till 570; (3) the compiler borrows two verses from the celebrated hymn called " The Royal Diadem," written by Ibn Gabirol, who was born about 1021; (4) it mentions the capture of Jerusalem by the crusaders and the re-taking of the Holy City by the Saracens; (5) it speaks of the comet which appeared at Rome, 15th July 1264, under the pontificate of Urban IV.; (6) by a slip the Zohar assigns a reason why its contents were not revealed before5060-5066A.M., i.e.1300-1306A.D., (7) the doctrine of the En Soph and the Sephiroth was not known before the 13th century; and (8) the very existence of the Zohar itself was not known prior 1 See, e.g., G.
That eminent scholars both in the synagogue and in the church should have been induced to believe in its antiquity is owing to the fact that the Zohar embodies many older opinions and doctrines, and the undoubted antiquity of some of them has served as a lever in the minds of these scholars to raise the late speculations about the En Soph, the Sephiroth, &c., to the same age.