A report on Ein Sof and Four Worlds

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.
The Tree of Life expanded to show each sefirot within the Four Worlds, an arrangement nicknamed "Jacob's Ladder"
Jacob's vision in Genesis 28:12 of a ladder between Heaven and Earth. In Kabbalistic interpretation, the Sulam-ladder's four main divisions are the Four Worlds and the angelic hierarchy embody external dimensions of the lights-vessels, while souls embody inner dimensions
Ezekiel's Tomb in Iraq. Ezekiel's vision of the Divine Merkabah-Chariot, and Isaiah's vision of the Kisei HaKavod-Throne of Glory, are related in Kabbalah to beholding the Four Worlds from Yetzirah, and from Beriah

The concept of "Worlds" denotes the emanation of creative lifeforce from the Ein Sof Divine Infinite, through progressive, innumerable tzimtzumim (concealments/veilings/condensations).

- Four Worlds

In Hasidic thought, Kabbalah corresponds to the World of Atzilus, the sephirah of Chochmah and the transcendent soul level of Chayah; Hasidic philosophy corresponds to the World of Adam Kadmon, the sephirah of Keter and the soul essence of Yechidah.

- 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.

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Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

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

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).

The structure of emanations has been described in various ways: Sephirot (divine attributes) and Partzufim (divine "faces"), Ohr (spiritual light and flow), Names of God and the supernal Torah, Olamot (Spiritual Worlds), a Divine Tree and Archetypal Man, Angelic Chariot and Palaces, male and female, enclothed layers of reality, inwardly holy vitality and external Kelipot shells, 613 channels ("limbs" of the King) and the divine Souls of Man.

Metaphorical diagram of the Kav thin line of light descending from the Ohr Ein Sof into the Khalal vacuum to emanate the concealed 10 sephirot in Adam Kadmon

Seder hishtalshelus

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Metaphorical diagram of the Kav thin line of light descending from the Ohr Ein Sof into the Khalal vacuum to emanate the concealed 10 sephirot in Adam Kadmon
Diagram of the Partzufim countenances, Reishin heads, and Dikna beard Divine aspects configurations in Atziluth
Hebrew prophets envisioned the Throne of God of Beriah with angelic retinue. In Kabbalah Isaiah 6 saw from Beriah, Ezekiel 1 saw from Yetzirah
Contemplation of Divine emanations in Theosophical Kabbalah enables the advantage of the esoteric scholar over the prophet's visions in cognitive understanding of higher levels of Divinity

In Kabbalistic and Hasidic philosophy, seder hishtalshelut or hishtalshelut (סדר השתלשלות) refers to the chain-like descent of spiritual worlds (Olam/Olamot) between God and Creation.

Ein Sof ("No End" - classic term for the Unknowable God in Kabbalah, God as Infinite lifesource continuously sustaining all Creation into Existence, above Being/Non-Being, reciprocally Becoming through the totality of Creation by the divine souls of Man )

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

Lurianic Kabbalah

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

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

Medieval Kabbalah incorporated motifs described as "Neoplatonic" (linearly descending realms between the Infinite and the finite), "Gnostic" (in the sense of various powers manifesting from the singular Godhead, rather than plural gods) and "Mystical" (in contrast to rational, such as Judaism's first doctrines of reincarnation).

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

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

Ohr

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Central Kabbalistic term in the Jewish mystical tradition.

Central Kabbalistic term in the Jewish mystical tradition.

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.

As the Ohr Ein Sof is itself infinite, it could not itself directly be the source for the creation of Worlds (Four Worlds and Seder hishtalshelus).

Adam Ḳadmon—Diagram illustrating the Sefirot (Divine Attributes). (From Christian Ginsburg, The Kabbalah - its Doctrines, Development & Literature)

Adam Kadmon

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Adam Ḳadmon—Diagram illustrating the Sefirot (Divine Attributes). (From Christian Ginsburg, The Kabbalah - its Doctrines, Development & Literature)

In Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon (אָדָם קַדְמוֹן, ʾāḏām qaḏmōn, "Primordial Man") also called Adam Elyon (אָדָם עֶלִיוֹן, ʾāḏām ʿelyōn, "Most High Man"), or Adam Ila'ah (אָדָם עִילָּאָה, ʾāḏām ʿīllāʾā "Supreme Man"), sometimes abbreviated as A"K (א"ק, ʾA.Q.), is the first of Four Worlds that came into being after the contraction of God's infinite light.

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"

Ayin and Yesh

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Important concept in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy.

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.

The revelation of Divinity in the Heavenly realms is supreme, and superior to the present concealment of God in this World.

Cordovero's grave in Safed

Moses ben Jacob Cordovero

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

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.