HERMETIC  - ESOTERIC - MYSTICAL PHILOSOPHIES

The Kabbalah-Emanations from the Source

By Robert Green

Introduction

The Kabala is Jewish mysticism. It is a mystical system of thought that has been synthesized by combining the corpus of hermetical thought that resulted from the commentaries and the contemplation of the Emerald Tablet with the Torah, or the first 5 books of Bible, written by Moses.

One of the problems of studying the Kabala today is that so many other systems of thought have been attached to it over the ages, making it very difficult to comprehend. In other words, its pristine knowledge has been polluted and unnecessarily complicated with everything from fortune telling to conjuring evil spirits. In these essays we will cut thru all of the illusions and look at it with its original intent, thought and concepts.

The original Kabala system was derived from three works. The 1st is the Torah, or the 1st 5 books of the Bible, supposedly written by Moses. The 2nd work is the Sefer Yetsirah, or Book of Creation, which came out of the Gnostic material of the Emerald Tablet, and was written somewhere between the 3rd and 6th centuries A.D. It deals with esoteric theories of cosmogony & cosmology and is very veiled and complicated because of the use of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet as archetypes to explain cosmic occurrences and laws. As maybe none in this class speak and write Hebrew, we will use more familiar symbols and archetypes to explain these cosmic occurrences and laws. The 3rd work is the Sefer Zohar, or the Book of Spender. It is
accepted by most scholars of the Kabala that the author of this monumental work was Moses de Leon of Spain, who began to circulate editions of the book in the period of 1280 and 1290 A.D. He claimed that it represented some of the writings of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai of the 2nd century A.D. From what we can find out, Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai was a great student of the corpus Hermetica and Jewish & Persian (Zoroastrism) mysticism. The medieval environment is easily recognized in much of writing of the Zohar, though. Historical references to the Crusades and to Arab rule in Palestine after wars are put together with material based on laws and customs found in the Spanish environment of the author, Moses de Leon. The Zohar is a monumental work of 2500 published pages plus a gigantic oral tradition, and would take a serious researcher several lifetimes to fully digest and comprehend. This book is primarily a collection of allegorical stories and commentaries and has been written to hide and discourage serious seekers of mystical truth, and requires studying with someone, a master, to unveil its real truths hidden in its allegories, Hebrew letters, and strange symbology.

So with this short introduction, let us begin our journey into the mysteries of the Kabala.

We will start at beginning.. before the creation and investigate the condition called the Nothing, also called Ayn Soph, Ein Sof, and En Soph. But first, let us examine the words, Ayn Soph, Ein Sof, and En Soph. Much of the original Kabalistic writings and commentaries were written by Jewish scholars living in German speaking countries and this was their common language. But in medieval times, most books were written in Latin, and the words used by these Jewish scholars were a combination of German and Latin. Ein is German for the, or a, and Ayn, En, are but corruptions of the German Ein. Soph, or Sophia is from a Latin derivative for wisdom; Sof is a German form of the Latin derivative. So we will use in these lessons, the uncorrupted original Germain words Ein Sof, which means "The Wisdom".

According to the Kabalalistic scholars, Ein Sof is unknowable because it is nothing. Therefore, as it is nothing, then nothing can be used to describe, or define it. There is only one way to know something about nothing, and that way is to say what it is not. So Ein Sof is not Absolute Being, for the word Being denotes a form and forms take up space, and Ein Sof is formless and therefore fills all space and is in Being, but is not Being. Ein Sof is not mind, or thought, but is in mind and thought, and on and on. Ein Sof has within it the potential for all things created and all things that are yet to be created. If we look at the word Sof, as Wisdom, we will learn something about Ein Sof. Wisdom is not understanding, nor is it intellect; it is not mind, either. Wisdom is innate "Cleverness". It is something that cannot be learned; you either have it, or you don't. We cannot will it as we do with reason and thought. We might say that it is a kind of intuition, a consciousness, or part of the life force in each cell. By meditating on what wisdom is, we will get a better feel for what Ein Sof is.

Let me just post some of the thoughts and commentaries on Ein Sof from some of the medieval Kabalistic thinkers and scholars.

EIN SOF

ANYTHING VISIBLE, and anything that can be grasped by thought, is bounded. Anything bounded is finite. Anything finite is not undifferentiated. Conversely, the boundless is called Ein Sof, Infinite. It is absolute
undifferentiation in perfect, changeless oneness. Since it is boundless, there is nothing outside of it. Since it transcends and conceals itself, it is the essence of everything hidden and revealed. Since it is concealed, it
is the root of faith and the root of rebellion. As it is written, "One who is righteous lives by his faith." The philosophers acknowledge that we comprehend it only by way of not.

Emanating from Ein Sof are the ten sefiroth. They constitute the process by which all things come into being and pass away. They energize every existent thing that can be quantified. Since all things come into being by means of the sefiroth, they differ from one another; yet they all derive from one root. Everything is from Ein Sof; there is nothing outside of it.

One should avoid fashioning metaphors regarding Ein Sof, but in order to help you understand, you can compare Ein Sof to a candle from which hundreds of millions of other candles are kindled. Though some shine brighter than others, compared to the first light they are all the same, all deriving from that one source. The first light and all the others are, in effect, incomparable. Nor can their priority compare with its, for it surpasses them; their energy emanates from it. No change takes place in it-the energy of emanation simply manifests through differentiation.

Ein Sof cannot be conceived, certainly not expressed, though it is intimated in every thing, for there is "nothing outside of it. No letter, no name, no writing, no thing can confine it. The witness testifying in writing that there is nothing outside of it is: "I am that I am." Ein Sof has no will, no intention, no desire, no thought, no speech, no action-yet there is nothing outside of it.

THERE MUST be a contraction of God's presence. For if we believe that Ein Sof emanated the emanation and does not clothe itself within, then everything that emanated is outside of it, and it is outside of everything.
Then there are two, God forbid. So we must conclude that nothing is outside of God. This applies not only to the sefiroth but to everything that exists, large and small-they exist solely through the divine energy that flows to them and clothes itself in them. If God's gaze were withdrawn for even a moment, all existence would be nullified. This is the secret meaning of the verse: "You enliven everything." So divinity flows and inheres in each thing that exists. This is the secret meaning of the verse: "God's presence fills the entire world." Contemplating this, you are humbled, your thoughts purified.

WISDOM is the end of what you can ponder in thought.

BEFORE THE creation of the world, Ein Sof withdrew itself into its essence, from itself to itself within itself. It left an empty space within its essence, in which it could emanate and create.

WHEN THE supernal emanator wished to create this material universe, it withdrew its presence. At first Ein Sof filled everything. Now, still, even an inanimate stone is illuminated by it; otherwise the stone could not exist
at all-it would disintegrate. The illumination of Ein Sof clothes itself in garment upon garment.

At the beginning of creation, when Ein Sof withdrew its presence all around in every direction, it left a vacuum in the middle, surrounded on all sides by the light of Ein Sof, empty precisely in the middle. The light withdrew
like water in a pond displaced by a stone. When a stone is dropped in a pond, the water at that spot does not disappear-it merges with the rest. So the withdrawn light converged beyond, and in the middle remained a vacuum. Then all the opacity and density of judgment within the light of Ein Sof-like a drop in the ocean-was extracted- Descending into the vacuum, it transformed into an amorphous mass, surrounded in every direction by the light of Ein Sof. Out of this mass emanated the four worlds: emanation, creation, formation, and actualization. For in its simple desire to realize its intention, the emanator relumined the mass with a ray of the light withdrawn at first-not all of the light, because if it had all returned, the original state would have been restored, which was not the intention.

To fashion pottery, the potter first takes an unformed mass of clay and then puts his hand inside the mass to shape it. So the supernal emanator put its hand into the amorphous mass, that is, a ray of light returned from above. As this light began to enter the mass, vessels were formed. From the purest light, Kether; next, Hokhmah; then, Binah; and so on through all ten sefiroth. Since Kether was the purest and clearest of all the vessels, it could bear the light within it, but Hokhmah and Binah, though more translucent than those below, were not like Kether. Not having its capacity, their backs broke, and they fell from their position. As the light descended further, six points appeared-six fragments of what had been one point of light. Thus the vessels shattered. Their spiritual essence-the light-ascended back to the mother's womb, while the shattered vessels fell to the world of creation.

When the light emanated once again-regenerated, arrayed anew- it extended only to the end of the world of emanation. "Emanation" denotes this extension of the light of Ein Sof during the time of regeneration. Emanation consists of five visages. These visages are reconfigurations of the points of light, capable now of receiving the light, so that no shattering occurs, as at first. Below these visages the light of Ein Sof appears only through a screen. As when you sit in the shade: though the sun does not shine on you directly, it illuminates the shaded area. In a similar manner, the light of Ein Sof illuminates the world of creation through a screen, indirectly.

Kabala part 2

Ein Sof has no beginning, and is formless, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

It is so difficult for us, living in a world of sensual form and thought to conceive of anything existing that is formless and cannot be sensed by our 5 senses, or by scientific instruments.

One of the most interesting concepts of the creation is that of Ein Sof`s withdrawal or retreat from a single point forming a space within it's center, and then the projection and concentration of its essence into this space. This voluntary contraction on the part of Ein Sof is the act that causes the creation of the universe. Remember, it is because Ein Sof is limitless in all things & all places and is a plenum of divinity that it was
necessary that a primordial space be established, for there must be a space for worlds of 3 dimensional form to exist in. The Zohar says, "But the space created was not entirely empty. In much the same way that the fragrance of perfume lingers in an empty bottle, so too did a divine presence remain behind in primordial space." Once this space existing outside of and separate from the Ein Sof was established, the second act of creation began to take place. The first act of creation was an act of limitation and definition: the second, that of emanation. At this time Ein Sof rayed out a single beam of light to form the first configuration ever fashioned, the Sefiroth, the building blocks of light, life and love.

Many Kabalists say that Ein Sof is not the creator God. Their logic is that God created in his own image and that as Ein Sof is Nothing, its image would be nothing, therefore it did not create, but supplied the potential, the energy and the sparks for the creation. To me, Ein Sof is God and so is the space and the sefiroth coming out of Him that manifested the creation and continues to do so. I leave it up to each one of you to decide what you want to believe in this regard.

The original meaning of the word Sefiroth comes from the ancient Egyptian word "sefer", which means a book or a scroll on which has been placed a seal that cannot be broken except by authorized persons, which was usually a priest. This was done in ancient times to "seal" certain secret and confidential writings from the unauthorized and profane. The word Sefiroth denotes a plural, so, we could correctly define Sefiroth as " sealed secrets".

Before the creation of days in Genesis, there were created 3 Sefiroth, the "Divine Trinity", and from these 3, came the 6 days of creation and 1 day of rest. The first three Sefiroth are Kether, Binah, & Hokhmah. They are called the Trinity; the Godhead; the Creator. These 3 manifested as a lightning flash in the primordial space caused by Ein Sof`s contraction, and although they manifested in a descending order, they pretty much came into Being at the same instant.

Kether is known as the crown. Not a crown like a king wears, but He is called the crown because He is at the top of the Sefiroth. All the other Sefiroth are below Him. He is called the Father and is a masculine emanation. Next to Him is Binah and is a feminine emanation.. Binah is called the Mother because she has the son of wisdom in her womb. Binah is also known as the "Holy Ghost", and as the "Cosmic". Out of Binah descended
the emanation, or the Sefiroth known as Hokhmah. Hokhmah is called wisdom and is the universal soul. Hokhmah is called the "Son". Hokhmah, the son, is the self; the universal I AM, and it is thru Him that the Father, Kether can be known. He is the only path, for Kether is Consciousness in ONENESS, and cannot know himself, except thru His reflection, Hokhmah, the Son. Binah, from the word "binary" is the beginning of duality, but without the reflective self of the Son, or Hokhmah, cannot know herself, either. Why is Binah the beginning of duality? It is because within her womb is the unmanifest Son; Hokhmah. Hokhmah in mysticism is called the "Christ Consciousness".

You will notice in a lot of the Kabala literature, that some of the names of the Sefiroth are spelled entirely different than what I am presenting in these essays. That is because in the centuries over which the Kabala was written and added to by scholars, meanings of words changed and translators in different countries and of different schools of thought changed some of the spelling of the words. I am trying always, as far as I am able, to use the original words and spelling, so that we can determine the original meanings of them, and thus determine the concepts that the mystic was trying to impart. Also, some these different schools in the middle ages changed the order of some of the sefiroth. An example of these different schools is in the concept of Ayin. Some of these scholars were so certain that Ein Sof could not be known, that they called Kether, Ayin, which means the "Nothing" in Hebrew. The Nothing originally was Ein Soph. Then they changed the order
of Sefiroth coming out Kether to Hokhmah then to Binah, which they called Father/Mother. Now there was one less Sefiroth by making Ein Sof into Kether, so another was added that they called "Da`at".

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