Cordovero's grave in Safed
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.

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.

- Moses ben Jacob Cordovero

Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, who gave the first full systemization of Kabbalah in the 16th century, resolved the contradiction, explaining that the sefirot consist of lights invested in vessels.

- Ein Sof
Cordovero's grave in Safed

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

Kabbalah

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).

Abulafian elements were later incorporated into the 16th century theosophical Kabbalistic systemisations of Moses Cordovero and Hayim Vital.

Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds, with the 10 sefirot radiating in each, as successively smaller Iggulim "concentric circles"

Sefirot

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).

In Cordoveran Kabbalah, the forces of creation are considered as autonomous forces that evolve independently of one another.

Representation of the Five Worlds with the 10 sefirot in each, as successively smaller concentric circles, derived from the light of the Kav after the Tzimtzum

Zohar

Foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.

Foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.

Representation of the Five Worlds with the 10 sefirot in each, as successively smaller concentric circles, derived from the light of the Kav after the Tzimtzum
An 1809 edition of the Zohar, printed in Slavuta, as seen in POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Title page of the first printed edition of the Zohar, Mantua, 1558. Library of Congress.

Regarding the importance of Ra'aya Meheimna, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero said, "Know that this book, which is called Ra'aya Meheimna, which Rashbi made with the tzadikim who are in Gan Eden, was a repair of the Shekhinah, and an aid and support for it in the exile, for there is no aid or support for the Shekhinah besides the secrets of the Torah... And everything that he says here of the secrets and the concepts—it is all with the intention of unifying the Shekhinah and aiding it during the exile.

According to the Zohar, the moral perfection of man influences the ideal world of the Sefirot; for although the Sefirot accept everything from the Ein Sof (Heb. אין סוף, infinity), the Tree of Life itself is dependent upon man: he alone can bring about the divine effusion.

Four Worlds

The Four Worlds (עולמות Olamot, singular: Olam עולם), sometimes counted with a prior stage to make Five Worlds, are the comprehensive categories of spiritual realms in Kabbalah in the descending chain of Existence.

The Four Worlds (עולמות Olamot, singular: Olam עולם), sometimes counted with a prior stage to make Five Worlds, are the comprehensive categories of spiritual realms in Kabbalah in the descending chain of Existence.

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).

The 16th-century systemisation of Kabbalah by Moshe Cordovero brought the preceding interpretations and schools into their first complete rational synthesis.