Sefer Yetzirah - The Saadia Version

The Book of Creation


INDEX

  1. Chapter I
  2. Chapter II
  3. Chapter III
  4. Chapter IV
  5. Chapter V
  6. Chapter VI
  7. Chapter VII
  8. Chapter VIII


Chapter One

1. In thirty-two mysterious paths of Wisdom, Yah, Eternal of Hosts [Yod-Vav-Yod], God of Israel, Living Elohim, Almighty God, High and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name, engraved and created His world in three Sefarim: in writing, number and word. Ten Sefirot out of nothing, twenty-two foundation letters, three mothers, seven doubles and twelve simples.

2. Ten Sefirot out of nothing according to the number of the ten digits [fingers and toes], which are five against five and a single covenant to be determined in the center. In word and tongue and mouth, they are ten extending beyond limit: depth of beginning, depth of end, depth of good, depth of evil, depth above and depth below, depth of east and depth of west, depth of north and depth of south, and the sole Master and lofty King faithfully governs them all from his Holy dwelling in Eternity forever.

3. Twenty-two foundation letters: three mothers, seven doubles and twelve simples. Three mothers: Alef, Mem, Shin: their basis is a scale of innocence and a scale of guilt and a tongue ordained to balance between the two. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav. Their foundation is life and peace, wisdom and wealth, fruitfulness, grace and government. Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Chet, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. Their foundation is seeing, hearing, smelling, swallowing, copulating, acting, walking, raging, laughing, thinking, and sleeping.

4. By means of these media, Yah, Eternal of Hosts, God of Israel, Living Elohim, Almighty God, High and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name traced out [carved] three fathers and their posterity, seven conquerors and their hosts, and twelve diagonal boundaries. The proof of this is revealed in the universe, the year, and the soul, which rule ten, three, seven and twelve. Over them rule Tali (the dragon), the wheel, and the heart.


Chapter Two

1. Ten Sefirot out of nothing. Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand in Wisdom and be wise in Understanding. Examine them, investigate them, think clearly and form. Place the word above its creator and reinstate a Creator upon His foundation; and they are ten extending beyond limit. Observe them: they appear like a flash. Their boundary has no limit for His word is with them: "and they ran and returned." And they pursue His saying like a whirlwind [vortex]; and they prostrate themselves [bend] themselves before His throne.

2. Twenty-two foundation letters: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simples. Three mothers: Alef, Mem, Shin: a great mystery, concealed, marvelous and magnificent whence emerge fire, wind [air, spirit, breath] and water, whence everything was created. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav, which are to be pronounced in two tongues: Bet, Vayt, Gimel, Ghimel, Dalet, Dhalet, Kaf, Khaf, Peh, Feh, Resh, Rhesh, Tav, Thav, a pattern of hard and soft, strong and weak. The doubles represent the contraries [syzygies]. The opposite of life is death, the opposite of peace is evil [or 'harm'], the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, the opposite of wealth is poverty, the opposite of fruitfulness is barrenness, the opposite of grace is ugliness, the opposite of dominion is slavery.

3. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav. Seven and not six, seven and not eight. Six sides in the six directions, and the Holy Palace [Heikhal] ruling in the center. Blessed is the Eternal [Yod-Vav-Yod] in His dwelling. He is the place of the universe and the universe is not His place.

4. Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. Twelve and not eleven, twelve and not thirteen. Twelve diagonal boundaries divide the directions and separate the different sides: the extremity of the northeast, the extremity of the eastern height, the extremity of the eastern depth, the extremity of the northwest, the extremity of the northern height, the extremity of the northern depth, the extremity of the southwest, the extremity of the western height, the extremity of the western depth, the extremity of the southeast, the extremity of the southern height, the extremity of the southern depth.

5. By these means, Yah, Eternal of Hosts, God of Israel, Living Elohim, Almighty God, High and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name traced twenty-two letters and fixed them upon a wheel. He turns the wheel forwards and backwards, and as a sign of this, nothing is better than to ascend in delight [Ayin-Nun-Gimel,], and nothing is worse than to descend with the plague [,Nun-Gimel-Ayin].

6. The proof of this is revealed in the universe, the year and the soul. The universe is calculated according to ten: the three are fire, air, and water; the seven are the seven planets; the twelve are the twelve signs of the zodiac. the year is computated by ten: the three are winter, summer and the seasons between; the seven are the seven days of creation; the twelve are the twelve months; the living soul is calculated according to ten: three are the head, chest and stomach; seven are the seven apertures of the body; the twelve are the twelve leading organs.


Chapter Three

1. Ten Sefirot out of nothing. Stop your mouth from speaking, stop your heart from thinking, and if your heart runs (to think) return to a place of which it is said "they ran and returned"; and concerning this thing the covenant was made; and they are ten in extent beyond limit. Their end is infused with their beginning, and their beginning with their end like a flame attached to a glowing ember. Know, think [reflect, meditate] and imagine that the Creator is One and there is nothing apart from Him, and before One what do you count?

2. Twenty-two foundation letters: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simples. Three mothers: Alef, Mem, Shin are fire, wind [air] and water. The nature of the heavens is fire, the nature of air is wind [ruach], the nature of earth is water. Fire ascends and water descends and wind balances between the two. Mem is silent, Shin is sibilant, and Alef balances between the two. Alef, Mem, Shin are signed in six rings and enveloped in male and female. Know, meditate and imagine that the fire supports water.

3. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav which are to be pronounced in two tongues: Bet, Vet, Gimel, Ghimel, Dalet, Dhalet, Kaf, Khaf, Peh, Feh, Resh, Rhesh, Tav, Thav, a pattern of hard and soft, strong and weak. The doubles represent the contraries. The opposite of life is death, the opposite of peace is evil, the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, the opposite of wealth is poverty, the opposite of fruitfulness is barrenness, the opposite of grace is ugliness, the opposite of dominion is slavery.

4. Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. He engraved them, hewed them, tested them, weighed them, and exchanged them. How did He combine them? Two stones build two houses. Three stones build six houses. Four stones build twenty-four houses. Five stones build one hundred twenty houses. Six stones build seven hundred twenty houses. Seven stones build five thousand forty houses. Thenceforth, go out and calculate what the mouth is unable to say and what the ear is unable to hear.

5. Through these media, Yah, Eternal of Hosts, God of Israel, Living Elohim, Almighty Master, Lofty and Extolled, Dwelling in Eternity, Holy Be His Name traced [carved] (His universe). Yah [Yod-He] is composed of two letters; YHVH [Yod-He-Vav-He] is composed of four letters; Hosts [Tsvaot]: it is like a signal [sign, ot] in his army [tsava]; God of Israel: Israel is a prince [Sar] before God [El]; Living Elohim: three things are called living, Living Elohim, the water of life and the Tree of Life; El [Alef-Lamed]: strength, Shaddai [Shin-Dalet-Yod]: He is sufficient to this point; Lofty [Ram]: because He dwells in the heights of the universe and is above all elevated being; Extolled [Nisah]: because He carries and maintains the height and depth whilst the bearers are below and their burden is above. He carries and maintains the entire creation; Dwelling in Eternity [Shochen ahd]: because His reign is eternal and uninterrupted; Holy Be His Name[Qadosh Shmo]: because He and His servants are sacred and they declare unto Him every day: Holy, Holy, Holy.

6. The proof of this is revealed in the universe, the year and the soul. The twelve are below, the seven are above them, and the three are above the seven. Of the three, He has formed His sanctuary and all are attached to the One: a sign of the One who has no second, a solitary King in His Universe is One, and His Name is One.


Chapter Four

1. Ten Sefirot out of nothing. One: Spirit-wind of the Living Elohim, Life of the Universe, whose throne strengthens all eternity, Blessed and Beneficent Be His Name, constant and eternal: this is the Holy Spirit.

2. Spirit from Spirit engraved and hewed: He cut the four dimensions of Heaven: the east, the west, the north and the south, and there is a wind for each direction.

3. Twenty-two foundation letters: three mothers, seven doubles, and twelve simples. He hewed them in spirit, carved them in voice, fixed them in the mouth in five place: Alef, He, Het, Ayin [ahacha]; Bet, Vav, Mem, Feh [bumaf]; Gimel, Yod, Khaf, Qof [gikhaq]; Dalet, Tet, Lamed, Nun, Tav [datlanat]; Zayin, Samech, Tsadeh, Resh, Shin [zsats'ras]. Alef, He, Het, Ayin are pronounced at the end of the tongue at the place of swallowing; Bet, Vav, Mem, Feh between the teeth with the tip of the tongue; Gimel, Yod, Khaf, Qof on the palate; Dalet, Tet, Lamed, Nun, Tav on the middle of the tongue and pronounced with the voice; Zayin, Samech, Tsadeh, Resh, Shin between the teeth with the tongue at rest.

4. Twenty-two letters: He carved them, hewed them, refined them, weighed them, and combined them, and He made of them the entire creation and everything to be created in the future. How did He test them? Alef with all and all with Alef, Bet with all and all with Bet, Gimel with all and all with Gimel, and they all return again and again, and they emanate through two hundred and thirty-one gates. All the words and all the creatures emanate from One Name.

5. He created reality from Tohu [Tav-He-Vav] and made His existence out of His nothingness, and He hewed great pillars from the intangible air.

6. Three: water of spirit carved and hewed of it Tohu [Tav-He-Vav] and Bohu [Bet-He-Vav], mud and clay. He made them like a garden bed, put them into position like a wall and covered them like a fortification. he poured water upon them and made dust, for He saith to the snow: be earth. (Tohu: this is the green line which encircles the entire world; Bohu: this refers to the rocks split and submerged in the abyss where the water has its source.) As it is said: He spread out the line of Tohu and the rocks of Bohu upon it [the water].

7. Four: fire from water, He engraved and hewed from it a throne of glory and the host dwelling in the heights, as it is written: Who maketh the winds His messengers, the flames of fire His ministers.

8. Five: He chose three simples and fixed them to His great Name, and with them He sealed six extremities. He sealed the height, turning upwards and sealed it with Yod-He-Vav. Six: He sealed the depth and He turned below and sealed it with Yod-Vav-He. Seven: he sealed the east and turned forwards, and sealed it with He-Vav-Yod. Eight: He sealed the west and turned backwards and sealed it with He-Yod-Vav. Nine: He sealed the south and turned to His right and sealed it with Vav-Yod-He. Ten: He sealed the north and turned to His left and sealed it with Vav-He-Yod. These are the ten Sefirot out of nothing, One: Spirit of the Living Elohim; two: wind of the spirit; three: water of the wind; four: fire from the water, height and depth, east and west, north and south.


Chapter Five

1.He made the letter Alef King in Spirit and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: air in the universe, abundant moisture in the year, and body in the soul, male and female; with the male: Alef, Mem, Shin, and with the female: Alef, Shin, Mem.

2. He made the letter Mem King in Spirit and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: earth in the universe, cold in the year, and belly in the soul (male and female).

3. He made the letter Shin King in Spirit and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Heaven in the universe, heat in the year, and head in the soul, male and female. How did He combine them? Alef, Mem, Shin, Alef, Shin, Mem, Mem, Shin, Alef, Mem, Alef, Shin, Shin, Alef, Mem, Shin, Mem, Alef. Heaven is from fire, the atmosphere is from air, the earth is from water. The head of Adam is fire, his heart is of the spirit-wind, and his stomach is from water.

4. Seven doubles: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh, Tav. He carved them, hewed them, tested them, weighed them, and combined them. He made of them: the planets, the days (of the week), and the apertures (of the head).

5. He made the letter Bet King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Saturn in the universe, the Sabbath in the year, and the mouth in the soul.

6. He made the letter Gimel King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Jupiter in the universe, Sunday in the year, and the right eye of the soul.

7. He made the letter Dalet King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Mars in the universe, Monday in the year, and the left eye of the soul.

8. He made the letter Kaf King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Sun in the universe, Tuesday in the year, and the right nostril of the soul.

9. He made the letter Peh King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Venus in the universe, Wednesday in the year, and the left nostril of the soul.

10. He made the letter Resh King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Mercury in the universe, Thursday in the year, and the right ear of the soul.

11. He made the letter Tav King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Moon in the universe, Friday in the year, and the left ear of the soul.

12. He separated the witnesses and He bestowed a portion to each of them: a portion to the universe, a portion to the year, and a portion to the soul.


Chapter Six

Twelve simples: He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof. He carved them, hewed them, tested them, weighed them, and combined them. He formed of them: the signs of the zodiac, the months [of the year], and the leading organs of the body; two are agitated, two are tranquil, two are advising, and two are joyous (these are the two intestines), the two hands, and the two feet.

1. He made them like contenders and set them up like a kind of war; Elohim made them one against the other.

2. Three, to each a portion; seven divided into three above, three [below], and the one rules as a balance between the two. Twelve are arranged in battle: three are friends, three are enemies, three are murderers, and three are resurrectors; and they all are attached one to another. As a sign of this thing, twenty-two inclinations and one body.

3. How did He combine them? He, Vav, Vav, He; Zayin, Het, Het, Zayin; Tet, Yod, Yod, Tet; Lamed, Nun, Nun, Lamed; Samech, Ayin , Ayin, Samech; Tsadeh, Qof, Qof, Tsadeh.

4. He made the letter He King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Aries in the universe, Nisan in the year, and the liver of the soul.

5. He made the letter Vav King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Taurus in the universe, Iyyar in the year, and the gall-bladder of the soul.

6. He made the letter Zayin King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Gemini in the universe, Sivan in the year, and the spleen in the soul.

7. He made the letter Het King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Cancer in the universe, Tammuz in the year, and the intestine in the soul.

8. He made the letter Tet King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Leo in the universe, Ab in the year, and the right kidney in the soul.

9. He made the letter Yod King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Virgo in the universe, Elul in the year, and the left kidney in the soul.

10. He made the letter Lamed King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Libra in the universe, Tishri in the year, and the intestines in the soul.

11. He made the letter Nun King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Scorpio in the universe, Marheshvan in the year, and the stomach in the soul.

12. He made the letter Samech King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Sagittarius in the universe, Kislev in the year, and the right hand of the soul.

13. He made the letter Ayin King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Capricorn in the universe, Tevet in the year, and the left hand of the soul.

14. He made the letter Tsadeh King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Aquarius in the universe, Shvat in the year, and the right foot of the soul.

15. He made the letter Qof King and bound to it a crown and tested this one with this one, and formed of it: Pisces in the universe, Adar in the year, and the left foot of the soul.

16. He divided the witnesses and bestowed a portion to each of them: a portion to the universe, a portion to the year, and a portion to the soul.


Chapter Seven

1.

  • Air, between seasons ["abundant moisture"], trunk [i.e. torso].
  • Earth, cold, belly.
  • Heaven, heat [summer], the head

  • These are Alef, Mem and Shin.

2.

  • Saturn, Sabbath, the mouth.
  • Jupiter, Sunday, right eye.
  • Mars, Monday, left eye.
  • The Sun, Tuesday, right nostril.
  • Venus, Wednesday, left nostril.
  • Mercury, Thursday, right ear.
  • Moon, Friday, left ear

  • These are Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Kaf, Peh, Resh and Tav.

3.

  • Aries, Nisan, liver.
  • Taurus, Iyyar, gall-bladder.
  • Gemini, Sivan, spleen.
  • Cancer, Tammuz, intestine.
  • Leo, Ab, right kidney.
  • Virgo, Elul, left kidney.
  • Libra, Tishri, intestines.
  • Scorpio, Marheshvan, stomach.
  • Sagittarius, Kislev, right hand.
  • Capricorn, Tevet, left hand. - Aquarius, Shvat, right foot.
  • Pisces, Adar, left foot

  • These are He, Vav, Zayin; Het, Tet, Yod; Lamed, Nun, Samech; Ayin, Tsadeh, Qof.

Chapter Eight

  • With Alef have been formed: the spirit-wind, air, the between seasons, the chest, the tongue.
  • With Mem have been formed: water, earth, cold, belly, and the balance of guilt.
  • With Shin have been formed: fire, Heaven, heat, the head, and the balance of innocence.
  • With Bet have been formed: Saturn, the Sabbath, life and death.
  • With Gimel have been formed: Jupiter, Sunday, the right eye, peace and harm.
  • With Dalet have been formed: Mars, Monday, the left eye, wisdom and foolishness.
  • With Kaf have been formed: the Sun, Tuesday, the right nostril, wealth and poverty.
  • With Peh have been formed: Venus, Wednesday, the left nostril, fertility and desolation [barrenness].
  • With Resh have been formed: Mercury, Thursday, the right ear, grace and ugliness.
  • With Tav have been formed: the Moon, Friday, the left ear, dominion and slavery.
  • With He have been formed: Aries, Nisan, the liver, vision and blindness.
  • With Vav have been formed: Taurus, Iyyar, the spleen, hearing and deafness.
  • With Zayin have been formed: Gemini, Sivan, the gall, odor and odorlessness.
  • With Het have been formed: Cancer, Tammuz, the intestine, the word and silence.
  • With Tet have been formed: Leo, Ab, the right kidney, eating and hunger.
  • With Yod have been formed: Virgo, Elul, the left kidney, copulating and castration.
  • With Lamed have been formed: Libra, Tishri, the intestines, acting and impotence.
  • With Nun have been formed: Scorpio, Marheshvan, the gullet, walking and limping.
  • With Samech have been formed: Sagittarius, Kislev, the right hand, rage and loss of faith.
  • With Ayin have been formed: Capricorn, Tevet, the left hand, laughing and the loss of spleen.
  • With Tsadeh have been formed: Aquarius, Shvat, the right foot, thinking and loss of heart.
  • With Qof have been formed: Pisces, Adar, the left foot, sleeping and languor.

And they are all fixed to the Dragon [Tali], the wheel, and the heart. Tali in the universe is like a king upon his throne, the wheel in the year is like a king in his empire, and the heart in the body is like a king at war. To recapitulate: some reunited with the others, and those reunited with the former. These are opposed to those and those are opposed to these. These are the contrary of those and those are the contrary of these. If these are not, those are not. And if those are not, these are not; and they are all fixed to Tali [the Dragon], the wheel and the heart.

And when Abraham our father had formed and combined and investigated and reckoned and succeeded, then He-Qof-Bet-He, "The Holy One Blessed Be He" was revealed unto him, and unto Abraham He called this convocation: "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou left the womb, I sanctified thee, and I placed thee like a prophet amidst the nations." And He made Abraham a beloved friend, and cut a covenant with him and his seed forever and ever.