Sefirot (also Sefirot, Sephirot or Sephiroth, Hebrew: סְפִירוֹת "digits", singular סְפִירָה Sefira) is, according to the teachings of the Jewish Kabbalah, the Hebrew name of the 10 divine emanations, which together form the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah (Hebrew: עץ החיים Ez Ha-Chajim, or in short עץ חיים Ez Chajim). More precisely, it represents the Tree of Life intertwined with the Tree of Knowledge. The two pillars Jachin and Boaz, which stood at the entrance gate of Solomon's Temple, also correspond to this.
Jachin, the white pillar on the right, is marked with the Hebrew letter י (Jod), which stands for the creative I-power of the Elohim, from which the human I also sprang; it also stands for the male principle.
Boaz, the black pillar on the left, is marked with a ב (Beth), but written without a dagesh, i.e. without a dot, and therefore pronounced as a W. It is the undulating, envelope-forming creative force that gives rise to beings that are more or less separated from the rest of the soul world. It stands for the female principle.
In many depictions, a middle, mediating pillar, the pillar of mildness (Hebrew: גסת Gusuth), is also shown. In it, the reconciling Christ-principle already announces itself, which also appears in a similar way in the Revelation of John in the fourth apocalyptic seal image. Together they form the three pillars of manifestation.
The Sefirot Tree symbolises at the same time the heavenly, macrocosmic human being, represented by Adam Kadmon, as a supra-sexual but bipolar male-female being, most perfectly depicted in the earthly human being as a microcosm, but also everywhere else in creation, albeit more imperfectly. Similar to Aristotle's 10 categories, the 10 Sephiroth form a spiritual alphabet with which the whole cosmos can be systematically described in its being and becoming. The 10 Sefirot are connected by 22 paths, which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet; together with the 10 Sephiroth they form the 32 paths of wisdom.
The 10 Sefirot in Rudolf Steiner's Presentation
In answering questions to a lecture given in Leipzig on 12 January 1908, Rudolf Steiner relates the ten Sefirot to the wheels of the Throne Chariot of God (Hebrew: מרכבה Merkabah "chariot") described in the vision of Ezekiel.
„The wheels of the chariot, Merkabah, indicate the turns by which man moves on ahead, and rounds are meant by them. The ten sephirot indicate periods of time, stages of development, through which man has passed. The physical body went through four stages of development: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth. Three stages of the etheric body: Sun, Moon, Earth. Two stages of the astral body: Moon, Earth. The I is on the first stage: together there are ten.“ (Lit.: Contributions 32, p. 31)
Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that the 10 sefirot are letters of a spiritual alphabet which can give deep insights into the nature of the human being. The sefirot, now listed here according to Rudolf Steiner's way of designating and arranging them, which partly differs from the usual Kabbalistic representations, are closely connected with the threefold structure of the human being. Keter (crown), Chokmah (wisdom) and Binah (intelligence, discriminating mind) designate the forces acting on and through the nerve-sense system. Chesed (freedom), Geburah (life force) and Tipheret (beauty) act on the rhythmic system and Netzach (overcoming), Hod (compassion) and Yesod (foundation) on the metabolic-limb system. The tenth force, called Malkuth (realm, field), works from the earth.
- Heinrich Elijah Benedikt: Die Kabbala als jüdisch-christlicher Einweihungswes, 2 Bände, Bauer-Verlag
- Karl Erich Grözinger: Jüdisches Denken. Theologie - Philosophie - Mystik: Band 2: Von der mittelalterlichen Kabbala zum Hasidismus, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/Main 2005
- Ernst Müller (Hrsg. und Übersetzer): Der Sohar - Das heilige Buch der Kabbala, Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag, Kreuzlingen/München 2005 (Diederichs Gelbe Reihe), ISBN 3-7205-2643-7
- Helmut Werner: Die Kabbala, Komet Verlag, Köln 2009, ISBN 978-3-89836-165-1
- Rudolf Steiner: Anthroposophische Leitsätze, GA 26 (1998), ISBN 3-7274-0260-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Bewußtsein – Leben – Form , GA 89 (2001) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Geistige Hierarchien und ihre Widerspiegelung in der physischen Welt, GA 110 (1991) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Geheimnisse der biblischen Schöpfungsgeschichte, GA 122 (1984), ISBN 3-7274-1220-8 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Das Matthäus-Evangelium, GA 123 (1988), ISBN 3-7274-1230-5 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Welche Bedeutung hat die okkulte Entwicklung des Menschen für seine Hüllen und sein Selbst?, GA 145 (1986) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Vorträge und Kurse über christlich-religiöses Wirken, V, GA 346 (2001) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker, GA 353 (1988), Zwölfter Vortrag, Dornach, 10. Mai 1924 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Okkulte Zeichen und Symbole der astralen und der geistigen Welt, Vortrag in Leipzig, 12. Januar 1908 (not yet published in the GA) pdf
- Beiträge zur Rudolf Steiner Gesamtausgabe, Heft 32, 1970 Beiträge (Contributions) 32, S. 30f
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: email@example.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.
- Strictly speaking, one must not speak of "emanations" here, because according to the Kabbalistic teaching strongly influenced by Isaac Luria, creation did not come into being as an "emanation" of God, but rather through his withdrawal and self-restraint according to the Tzimtzum (Hebrew: צמצום ṣimṣūm, literally "contraction" or "withdrawal"). Only in this way was space created for human freedom, but also for evil.