Ein Sof

The sefirot consist of lights invested in vessels, similar to water poured into a glass. While taking on the shape of the glass, the water is essentially unchanged.

Understood as God prior to any self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual realm, probably derived from Solomon ibn Gabirol's ( 1021 – 1070) term, "the Endless One" (she-en lo tiklah).

- Ein Sof

53 related topics



Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds, with the 10 sefirot radiating in each, as successively smaller Iggulim "concentric circles"
The Yosher-Upright configuration of the 10 sefirot, arranged into 3 columns
Configuration of the body
Sefer Hakavanot from "Kisvei HaAri", disciples of the 16th century Lurianic Kabbalah. It moved the origin of perceived exile in the sefirot to Primordial Creation, before the influence of Man on supernal harmony, as in Medieval Kabbalah
The 10 sefirot, arranged into the 3 columns, with the 22 Paths of Connection of three types

Sefirot (סְפִירוֹת səp̄īrōṯ), meaning emanations, are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which Ein Sof (The Infinite) reveals itself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms (Seder hishtalshelus).

Hasidic Judaism

Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Western Ukraine during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe.

The Kaliver Rebbe, Holocaust survivor, inspiring his court on the festival of Sukkot
Kvitel requests for blessing piled on the graves of the last Lubavitcher Rebbes
Hasidic family in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The man is wearing a shtreimel, and either a bekishe or a rekel. The woman is wearing a wig, called a sheitel, as she is forbidden to show her hair in public.
Rabbi Moshe Leib Rabinovich, Munkacser Rebbe, wearing a kolpik
The Dorohoi Rebbe in his traditional rabbinical Sabbath garb
Sculpture of the Hasidic movement's celebration of spirituality on the Knesset Menorah
Israel ben Eliezer's autograph
Shivchei HaBesht (Praises of the Baal Shem Tov), the first compilation of Hasidic hagiographic storytelling, was printed from manuscripts in 1815
Palace of the Ruzhin dynasty, known for its "royal" mannerism, in Sadhora.
Belzer Rebbe Aharon Rokeach (depicted 1934), who was hidden from the Nazis and smuggled out of Europe.

In the beginning, in order to create the world, God contracted (Tzimtzum) his omnipresence, the Ein Sof, leaving a Vacant Void (Khalal panui), bereft from obvious presence and therefore able to entertain free will, contradictions and other phenomena seemingly separate from God himself.


Esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between the unchanging, eternal God—the mysterious Ein Sof (, "The Infinite") —and the mortal, finite universe (God's creation).


"Ma'ohr" (luminary), "Kli" (vessel) and "Shefa" (pleanty) redirect here.

Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds with the 10 Sephirot in each, as successively smaller concentric circles, derived from the light of the Kav after the Tzimtzum
Jacob's vision in Genesis 28:12 of a ladder between Heaven and Earth. Kabbalah relates this to the chain of Worlds. Angels embody spiritual levels of enclothed ohr-light. They "ascend and descend" in ratzu-run nullification desire, and shuv-return purpose of Creation
The Kabbalistic duality of transcendent and immanent emanations in Heaven, becomes a paradigm in Hasidic Panentheism to describe paradoxical Divine Omnipresence in this world, expressed in worship and the Tzadik
The Maharal
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov
Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Latin translation of Shaare Orah שערי אורה "The Gates of Light", one of the most influential presentations of the Kabbalistic system, by Joseph Gikatilla in the 13th century<ref>Caption to this illustration on p.2 of Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, Oxford University Press</ref>
Galilean Meron. "Nature" HaTeva is the numerical value of Elohim, the name of immanent light. The Tetragrammaton transcendence creates through it. Kabbalistically, in Israel the concealment is less severe

The distinction between the Divine light (beginning with the Ohr Ein Sof - the primordial "Infinite Light", and subsequently the 10 Sephirot emanations) and the Divine Source (the Ein Sof "Infinite") appears only relative to Creation.

Lurianic Kabbalah

School of kabbalah named after Isaac Luria , the Jewish rabbi who developed it.

Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed. The 1538 Safed attempt by Jacob Berab to restore traditional Semikhah (Rabbinic organisation), reelected the community's Messianic focus. Karo, author of the normative Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Law) was one appointed
The old cemetery in Safed where its pre-eminent 16th century mystical and legal figures are buried, including Yosef Karo, Shlomo Alkabetz, Moshe Alshich, Moshe Cordovero and the Ari. After the Expulsion from Spain the Safed circle held a national Messianic responsibility, mirrored in Lurianic scheme
Scheme of the Five Worlds forming within the Khalal Vacuum (Outer Circle) through the illumination of the Kav Ray (Vertical Line). Concepts are non-spatial. Sephirot shown in the scheme of Iggulim ("Circles")
The sephirot in the scheme of Yosher ("Upright"), from which the partzufim develop
The soul of Adam included all future human souls, while the 613 Mitzvot relate to 613 spiritual "limbs" in the configuration of the soul
Kabbalistic chart of Divine names in Ari synagogue. Traditional Lurianic prayer method involved esoteric kavanot meditations on specific Divine letter permutations related to each prayer
Mikveh of Isaac Luria on the hillside below Safed in the Galilee, fed by a cold spring

The Medieval-Cordoverian scheme describes in detail a linear, hierarchical process where finite Creation evolves ("Hishtalshelut") sequentially from God's Infinite Being.

Ayin and Yesh

Important concept in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy.

Kabbalah, the fourth level of Pardes Jewish exegesis, relating to the Sephirah Chochmah-Wisdom, focuses on the esoteric supernal emanations, defining them through anthropomorphisms and metaphors. Creation is seen as Yesh me-Ayin from "below" and Ayin me-Yesh from "above"
Hasidim's founder Baal Shem Tov's shul restored. Hasidism related esoteric transcendent Kabbalah to internal perception in the soul, making devotion and Divine immanence of this material world its central values. Different Hasidic dynasties explored different aspects of Yesh-Ayin, from contemplative paradox in Chabad, existential faith in Breslav, and public embodiment in Mainstream "Practical" Hasidic charismatic doctrine of Tzadik leadership
In Hasidic interpretation, the revelation at Sinai began the union of descending Ayin spirituality and ascending Yesh physicality through the higher Divinity of Atzmut essence, equally beyond Finite-Infinite duality, reflected in the innermost Divine Will of the Mitzvot. This will be completed in this World's future Divine "dwelling place"

In this context, the sephirah Keter, the Divine will, is the intermediary between the Divine Infinity (Ein Sof) and Chochmah.

Moses ben Jacob Cordovero

Central figure in the historical development of Kabbalah, leader of a mystical school in 16th-century Safed, Ottoman Syria.

Cordovero's grave in Safed

While he was a mystic inspired by the opaque imagery of the Zohar, Cordoverian Kabbalah utilised the conceptual framework of evolving cause and effect from the Infinite to the Finite in systemising Kabbalah, the method of philosophical style discourse he held most effective in describing a process that reflects sequential logic and coherence.


Topmost of the sephirot of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah.

Keter as depicted in a Mizrach printing by Samuel Habib (1828)

This first Sefirah represents the primal stirrings of intent in the Ein Soph (infinity), or the arousal of desire to come forth into the varied life of being.


Belief that the divine intersects every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time.

Idealised portrayal of the author Homer

According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal and exists in a state that is both transcendent and immanent.

Azriel of Gerona

The founder of speculative Kabbalah and the Gironian Kabbalist school.

He laid the foundation for the idea of Ein-Sof, by stating that God can have no desire, thought, word, or action, emphasized by it the negation of any attribute.