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Beit Midrash: Ohr Ne’erav: The Ten Sefirot Print E-mail
Written by Machberes Avodas Hashem   

KabbalahThe 23rd of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, the Ramak: First, one should know that the Creator, the Ein Sof, is One and there is no second to Him. He is the ultimate cause. When He is spoken of as “one” it is not the numerical one that is meant. For He can not undergo any change or substitution. He cannot be described nor can he suffer increase.


The term “One” is used of Him as an illustration or analogy. The numerical one stands apart. The beginning of every number, it contains potentially all other numbers and is present in actuality in all numbers. It is on this analogy that the term “One” is used of God for He is actually present in all things, all things exists potentially in Him and He is their cause. Like the numerical one, He does not suffer change by addition or subtraction. His existence is necessary, not contingent, just as the one is necessary in counting, for without it no number can exist but it exists without any other number. So God fashions and creates all things, sustaining all His creatures, but the destruction of the world would not involve the destruction of its Maker for He requires no other being. If all existing things were to cease this would not involve His cessation for He is self existent and requires no place for His existence.

One should know that the Ein Sof produced His Sefirot and caused them to emanate. These contain His deeds. They are the Ten Words by which He works, the instruments He uses for the actions He performs in the lower worlds that are separate from Him.

But in fact His essence and His being are disbursed through the Sefirot. These Sefirot are ten in number, not nine or eleven, neither more nor less, for thus it was decreed in His Divine Wisdom.

He knows that the purpose for which they were emanated requires this perfect number and cannot be achieved by any greater or lesser number. This applies not only to the qualities themselves but to all their ramifications. Even when six or four of the Sefirot are spoken of separately, this means only that they are revealed according to the secret of the six or the four but in totality they are still Ten.

We have been taught: There are three crowns: the crown of Torah; the crown of Kehunah; and the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name excels them all (Avot 4:13). It is well known that these three crowns along to the Prince, the head of the Sanhedrin, the Kohen Gadol, and the King. For their authority to be strong, these require a Vice High Priest, a Viceroy, and a Father of the Court in ruling the nation.

Beneath these are the three flocks of sheep of the hosts of Israel, namely, the companies of Kohanim, the Army, and the Sanhedrin. All these, the nine mentioned above, gaze upwards to the Crown of the Good Name of the Community of Israel which is elevated by their work to give glory to their Creator, for this is the whole duty of humanity. Behold I have shown you the need for this perfect number for, “He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 66:10).” (Ohr Ne'erav, Section IV)

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