To explain how it is possible to exist as an individual next to an infinite power (because if there is something else than the infinite superpower, than it is not so infinite, is that clear?),the kabbalah introduces the concept of the “sefirot”.
The sefirot works as a tool, channeling, taming the infinite divine energy into our finite physical world. We need to explore this concept so that we can get to the levels of the human soul. (Sefira singular, sefirot plural, it comes from the Hebrew language)
Imagine a super powerful laser beam, so powerful it would destroy and burn everything in its way and nothing else could exist next to it. When you want to give other things the chance to exist, you might need a filter to tame the laser down and distribute its powerful energy, and more filters or a system of filters to transform this energy into kind warmth. The sefirotic system is this super filter in our universe. God’s infinite energy goes into this super filter on one side and on the other side our universe comes out with its multiplicity, planets, humans, plants, and so on.
But this system has two directions to it, coming down from high and going up from low― imagine it like a cosmic breath going in, then out. We are on one side, and the infinite God is on the other.
The word sefira can be translated as counting or number (primordial numbers), it is the hidden dimensions and structural elements of both humanity, the constituents of human character and the world. Many kabbalists call the system of sefirot the “tree of life.”
The sefirotic system is a guide to both our inner nature and the universe, which is governed by ten different sefira. None of the sefira function individually. This system can also translate into human qualities. ”A human being is a small universe, and the universe is a big human being.” Our human existence can be divided into 10 different elemental functions, each related to certain sefirot.
Within the ten sefirot there is a higher group corresponding to our mind and a lower group corresponding to our emotions, and one on the lowest part that collects the energy of all others and nourishes our physical self.( these groups are also called words or universes) The ten sefirot functions in every level of these universes like a hologram, but they all dominated by specific sefira.
Picture this listing of sefirot as a symbolic tree standing on earth that is growing upwards to the heavenly spheres or you can use the image of “Jacob’s ladder”.
Keter is the highest sefira.( the word means crown) The expression of our higher self, the divine will, or our guardian angel/spiritual guide according some kabbalistic school, what can be perceived as something other than us. Also known as Adam Kadmon.
Hokhma (means wisdom): responsible for our unconsciousness, spirituality, intuition, imagination. Through hokhmah we connect to humanities higher consciousness, and we know our higher purpose in life. Hokhma is on the realm of Atzilut (Emanation)
The intellectual sefirot, corresponding to the realm of Beriya (Creation), the level of thought
In the western world, one’s thoughts are regarded as private business, the focus is on one’s actions and speech. Meanwhile, in the world of kabbalah, thoughts are a part of our existence/ created universe, and they do matter and have impact on our lives. More about that in the next chapter.
Binah (means understanding): Responsible for our intellectual knowledge,academics, rationality, how to turn ideas into reality, learning
The emotional sefirot, corresponding to the world of Yetzira (formation), and the level of speech
This is the realm of Yetzira, the world of speech. In the kabbalistic understanding, our words have powerful creative force and they create realities in our life, just like the famous word “abracadabra,” which means I create as I say. It’s in our best interest to control our speech. More practical tips on this in the next chapter.
Hesed ( loving-kindness): limitless love, giving, freedom, generosity, charity
Gevura ( judgement): discipline, boundaries, frugality, strictness, time management, savings
Tiferet (beauty): harmony, balance, justice, living up to our moral code
Netzah (victory): responsible for organization, work, creativity, perseverance
Hod ( glory): personal benefits, beautiful home, living/surrounding environment, domestic spirit, humility
Yesod (foundation): responsible for human relationships, sexuality, romance, and communication
The lowest sefira sustains the level of Asiya, the realm of action
Malchut (means kingship): the lowest sefira, in charge of our physicality and health. Malchut receives from all the other higher sefiras, so short comings in any other area would affect it.
In this level the human being gets his or /her life sustenance from above through Malchut and on the physical level through the four material elements: air (breathing), water (drinking), earth (food), and fire (warmth). Both directions of sustenance are equally important for our well being.