Connecting the Ten Sefirot to Ten Utterances of Creation

4 min read

IMAGE: Amidst the vast expanse, the act of ‘Tzimtzum’, where boundless divine light contracted to give birth to our world.

In the story of Creation as narrated in the Torah (Bereshit, chapters 1-2), there are Ten Utterances through which HaShem brought the world into existence. These are not merely rhetorical devices but profound expressions of divine will and wisdom, aligning with the concept of the Ten Sefirot in Kabbalah. The Talmud in Masechet Avot (5:1) states, “With ten utterances was the world created,” indicating that each utterance was a distinct act of divine will, channeling specific energies into the fabric of reality.

The Ten Utterances

“Let there be light” (Keter) – Aleph (א): Keter, often referred to as the “crown,” is the primal source from which all divine emanation flows. The AriZal (Rabbi Isaac Luria, “Etz Chaim”) discusses Keter as the most concealed aspect of divinity, likening it to Ratzon, the divine will. Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, represents the essence of divine unity and acts as the channel for the Ein Sof, the infinite light. Both Aleph and Keter point to the Ohr Ein Sof, the limitless light that is the source of all creation (Zohar, Vol. 1, 15a).

“Let there be a firmament” (Chochmah) – Yud (י): Chochmah or Wisdom is the first point of ‘somethingness’ in creation. The Talmud (Chagigah 14a) likens it to the initial point from which a line extends. Yud, the smallest of Hebrew letters, epitomizes this point of wisdom that contains the potential for all else. It’s the seed of idea and concept within the divine mind.

“Let the waters gather” (Binah) – Hei (ה): Binah is Understanding, often called the “mother” in Kabbalistic literature (Zohar 2, 84b). It serves as the womb that gives form and substance to the spark of Chochmah. The letter Hei signifies divine breath and is the vehicle through which the formless is given form, analogous to how Binah gives fullness to the conceptual point of Chochmah.

“Let the earth sprout vegetation” (Chesed) – Gimel (ג): Chesed, or Loving-Kindness, epitomizes the unbounded generosity of HaShem. In the Talmud (Shabbat 104a), Gimel is depicted as a rich man (Gimel symbolizing “Gomel,” to bestow) pursuing a poor man, signifying the constant flow of divine grace and benevolence to the world.

“Let there be lights in the firmament” (Gevurah) – Dalet (ד): Gevurah, often translated as Strength or Judgment, represents the divine attribute of constraint. The Vilna Gaon (Aderet Eliyahu, Bereshit) links Dalet, resembling a door, to this principle. A door can both admit and exclude, much like Gevurah’s role in filtering and moderating the unbounded light of Chesed.

“Let the waters swarm” (Tiferet) – Vav (ו): Tiferet, or Beauty, serves as the harmonizing force between Chesed and Gevurah. In grammar, the letter Vav is a connector, serving a similar role in harmonizing and integrating the opposing energies, reminiscent of Aaron’s role as the lover and pursuer of peace (Avot 1:12).

“Let the earth bring forth living creatures” (Netzach) – Zayin (ז): Netzach stands for Eternity and the ongoing influence of the divine in our world. In Kabbalistic thought, Netzach and Hod are often seen as a pair, representing the legs that move a person forward. Zayin symbolizes sustenance and the struggle inherent in perpetuating existence.

“Let us make man” (Hod) – Tet (ט): Hod embodies Glory and the aspect of surrender to divine will. The letter Tet represents something concealed and is associated with the hidden aspects of divinity that become manifest in the humility and submission that characterize Hod.

“Be fruitful and multiply” (Yesod) – Tsadi (צ): Yesod, the Foundation, channels the flow of divine blessing into the material realm. The Tsadi, seen as the righteous tzaddik, embodies this principle. The tzaddik is often viewed as the foundation of the world (Proverbs 10:25), a conduit for divine blessing.

“It was very good” (Malchut) – Hei (ה): Malchut represents the Kingdom, the realm where divine energies find their expression in action and physicality. The second Hei in the divine name Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei signifies the actualization of all preceding spiritual energies, much like Malchut signifies the completion of the divine flow through the sefirotic structure.

Short URL:

You May Also Like

1 Comment

Add yours

+ Leave a Comment