The Three Main Currents of Medieval Judaism--

Click on this diagram for explanations of the ten powers ("Sefirot") of Kabbalistic doctrine

The Ten Sefirot of the Kabbalah

Comparative Chart

Rabbinic Philosophic Kabbalistic
God Personal Impersonal, Unknowable, approached intellectually Unknowable God: Ein-sof. Creation and Revelation through Ten "Sefirot" (divine powers). Emphasis on the tension between
Justice and Mercy
(= [separation and harmony]
= [punishment and blessing]
= [female and male]) .
Reasons for Observance of Torah Obedience to God Ultimate purpose: To achieve knowledge of God.
Means to end: Peaceful society, moral restraint
Harmonizing the Sefirot, drawing down merciful forces. Mystical significance of each commandment
Eschatology (Messianism) National and religious restoration Universalism: "Philosopher King" National redemption equated with redemption of God (Shekhina)

Rabbi Moses Maimonides

Press here to return to Judaism Notes Index