Selections from Sefer Yetzirah

"The Book of Creation"

Chapter 1

1. With 32 wonderous paths of Wisdom engraved Yah, the Lord of Hosts, [God of Israel, the Living God, King of the Universe, Almighty God, merciful and gracious, High and Exalted, dwelling in eternity, whose name is Holy, and created His universe with three books, with text (Sepher), with number (Sephar), and with communication (Sippur).

2. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness plus twenty two [foundations] letters: Three Mothers, Seven Doubles, and Twelve Elementals.

3. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: The number of the ten fingers, five opposite five, with a single covenent precisely in the middle, like the circumcision of the tongue and the circumcision of the membrum.

4. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Ten and not nine; ten and not eleven. Understand with Wisdom, and be wise with Understanding. Examine with them and probe them, make a thing stand on its essence, and make the Creator sit on his base.

5. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Their measure is ten which have no end. A depth of beginning, a depth of end; a depth of good, a depth of evil; a depth of above, a depth below; a depth east, a depth west; a depth north, a depth south. The singular Master, God faithful King, dominates them all from His holy dwelling until eternity of eternities.

6. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Their vision is like the "appearance of lightening", their limit has no end. His Word in them is "running and returning". They rush to his saying like a whirlwind, and before His throne they prostrate themselves.

7. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Their end is embedded in their beginning, and their beginning in their end, like a flame in a burning coal. For the Master is singular, He has no second. And before One, what do you count?

8. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: Bridle your mouth from speaking and your heart from thinking. And if your heart runs, return to the place, as it is written, "The Chayot running and returning" (Ezekizl 1:14). Regarding this covenant was made.

9. Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: One is the Breath of the Living God, blessed and benedicted be the Name of the Life of worlds. Voice, Breath and Speech. This is the Holy Breath (Ruach HaKodesh).

10. Two: Breath from Breath. With it engrave and carve twenty-two foundation letters - three, Mothers, seven Doubles, and twelve Elementals - and one Breath is from them.

11. Three: Water and Breath. With it engrave and carve chaos and void, mire and clay. Engrave them like a garden plot, carve them like a wall, cover them like a ceiling.

12. Four: Fire from water. With it engrave and carve the Throne of Glory, Seraphim, Ophanim, holy Chayot, and Ministering Angels. From the three establish His dwelling, as it is written, "He makes His angels of breaths, His ministers from flaming fire" (P salms 104:4).

13. Five: With three of the simple letters seal "above". Choose three and place them in His great Name: YHV. With them seal the six extremities. Face upward and seal it with YHV.

  • Six: Seal "below". Face downward and seal it with YVH.
  • Seven: Seal "east". Face straight ahead and seal it with HYV.
  • Eight: Seal "west". Face backward and seal it with HVY
  • Nine: Seal "south". Face to the right and seal it withn VYH.
  • Ten: Seal "north". Face to the left and seal it with VHY.
14. These are the Ten Sefirot of Nothingness. One is the Breath of the Living God. Breath [from Breath], Fire [from water, and the extremities], up, down, east, west, north and south.

Chapter 2

1. Twenty-two foundation letters: three Mothers, seven Doubles, and twelve Elementals. The three Mothers, AMSh, their foundation is the pan of merit, the pan of liability, and the tongue of decree deciding between them.

2. Twenty-two letters: Engrave them, carve them, weigh them, permute them, and transform them, and with them depict the soul of all that was formed and all that will be formed in the future.

3. Twenty-two foundation letters: They are engraved with voice, carved with breath, and placed in the mouth in five places: AChHO, BVMP, GYKO, DTLNTh, ZSShRTz.

4. Twenty-two foundation letters: They are set in a circle as 231 Gates. And this is the sign: There is no good higher than delight (ONG), and there is no evil lower than plague (NGO).

5. How? Weigh them and transpose them, Aleph with each one, and each one with Aleph; Bet with each one, and each one with Bet. They repeat in a cycle. Therefore, everything formed and everything spoken emanates in one name.

6. From substance out of chaos and make nonexistence into existence. Carve great pillars out of air that cannot be grasped. This is the sign: One forsees, transposes, and makes all creation and all words with one Name. And a sign of this: Twenty-two objec ts in a single body.

Chapter 6

1. Three are the fathers and their offspring, seven are the planets and their hosts, and twelve are the diagonal boundaries. And the proof of this, true witnesses, are the Universe, the Year, and the Soul. He decreed Twelve, (Ten), Seven and Three and He a ppointed them in the Teli, the Cycle, and the Heart. The three are fire, water, and breath: fire above, water below, and breath, the decree that decides between them. A sign of this is that fire upholds water.

Mem hums, Shin hisses, and Alef is the decree that decides between them.

2. The Teli in the Universe is like a king on his throne, the cycle in the Year is like a king in the province, the Heart in the Soul is like a king in battle.

"Also every desire, one opposite the other was made by God" (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Good opposite evil, good from good, evil from evil. Good makes evil recognizable, and evil makes good recognizable. Good is kept for the good, and evil is kept for the wicked .

3. Three: Each one stands alone. Seven are divided, three opposite three, with a decree deciding between them. Twelve stand in war: three who love, three who hate, three who give life, and three who kill. The three that love are the heart, the ears and th e mouth; the three that hate are the liver. the gall bladder, and the tongue. And God, the fathful King dominates them all. One over three, three over seven, and seven over twelve, and all of them are bound, one to another.

4. And when Abraham our father gazed, he looked, saw, delved, understood, engraved, carved, permuted and depicted, and he was successful. And the Master of all, Blessed be He, revealed Himself to him, and took him in His bosom, [kissed him on the head, and called him, "my Beloved"]. He made a covenant with him between the ten toes of his feet-this is the covenant of circumcision-and between the ten fingers of his hand-this is the covenant of the tongue. He bound the twenty-two letters to his tongue and re vealed their foundation. He drew them in water, burned them in fire, agitated them with breath. He ignited them with seven planets, and directed them with twelve constellations.

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