BOOK OF CREATION

SEFER YETZIRAH [Book of Creation] & Saadia’s Commentary (excerpts)

II. Chapter Two. ¶ 1. Ten Sefirot out of nothing. Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand in Wisdom and be wise in Understanding. Examine them, investigate them, think clearly and form. Place the word above its creator and reinstate a Creator upon His foundation; and they are ten extending beyond limit. Observe them: they appear like a flash. Their boundary has no limit for His word is with them: “and they ran and returned.” And they pursue His saying like a whirlwind [vortex]; and they prostrate themselves [bend] themselves before His throne. ¶ 2. Twenty-two foundation letters: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simples. Three mothers: Alef, Mem, Shin: a great mystery, concealed, marvelous and magnificent whence emerge fire, wind [air, spirit, breath] and water, whence everything was created. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav, which are to be pronounced in two tongues: Bet, Vayt, Gimel, Ghimel, Dalet, Dhalet, Kaf, Khaf, Peh, Feh, Resh, Rhesh, Tav, Thav, a pattern of hard and soft, strong and weak. The doubles represent the contraries [syzygies]. The opposite of life is death, the opposite of peace is evil [or ‘harm’], the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, the opposite of wealth is poverty, the opposite of fruitfulness is barrenness, the opposite of grace is ugliness, the opposite of dominion is slavery. ¶ 3. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav. Seven and not six, seven and not eight. Six sides in the six directions, and the Holy Palace [Heikhal] ruling in the center. Blessed is the Eternal [Yod-Vav-Yod] in His dwelling. He is the place of the universe and the universe is not His place. ¶ 4. Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. Twelve and not eleven, twelve and not thirteen. Twelve diagonal boundaries divide the directions and separate the different sides: the extremity of the northeast, the extremity of the eastern height, the extremity of the eastern depth, the extremity of the northwest, the extremity of the northern height, the extremity of the northern depth, the extremity of the southwest, the extremity of the western height, the extremity of the western depth, the extremity of the southeast, the extremity of the southern height, the extremity of the southern depth. ¶ 5. By these means, Yah, Eternal of Hosts, God of Israel, Living Elohim, Almighty God, High and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name traced twenty-two letters and fixed them upon a wheel. He turns the wheel forwards and backwards, and as a sign of this, nothing is better than to ascend in delight [Ayin-Nun-Gimel,], and nothing is worse than to descend with the plague [,Nun-Gimel-Ayin]. ¶ 6. The proof of this is revealed in the universe, the year and the soul. The universe is calculated according to ten: the three are fire, air, and water; the seven are the seven planets; the twelve are the twelve signs of the zodiac. the year is computated by ten: the three are winter, summer and the seasons between; the seven are the seven days of creation; the twelve are the twelve months; the living soul is calculated according to ten: three are the head, chest and stomach; seven are the seven apertures of the body; the twelve are the twelve leading organs.

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