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The powers or potencies in the Godhead as taught by the Kabbalah. The doctrine features prominently in the Zohar, although the Zohar does not actually use the word Sefirot, preferring terms such as ‘stages’ or ‘crowns’, probably because the Zohar is a pseudepigraphic work set in the second century ce and it would have given the game away to use a near-contemporary term like Sefirot. The doctrine runs that the En Sof, the unfathomable Ground of Being, produces, by a process of emanation, ten powers in which It (En Sof is sometimes referred to in impersonal terms) becomes manifest. These ten Sefirot are the source of all cosmic energy and vitality. Ethics of the Fathers (5. 1) speaks of ten words by means of which God created the world. In the context these are the ten ‘sayings’ mentioned in the creation narrative at the beginning of Genesis but are identified by the Kabbalists with the Sefirot.

The ten Sefirot, in the usual Kabbalistic terminology, are:1 Keter (‘Crown’).2 Hokhmah (‘Wisdom’).3 Binah (‘Understanding’).4 Hesed (‘Loving-kindness’).5 Gevurah (‘Power’ or ‘Judgement’).6 Tiferet (‘Beauty’).7 Netzah (‘Victory’).8 Hod (‘Splendour’).9 Yesod (‘Foundation’).10 Malkhut (‘Sovereignty’).

1 Keter (‘Crown’).

2 Hokhmah (‘Wisdom’).

3 Binah (‘Understanding’).

4 Hesed (‘Loving-kindness’).

5 Gevurah (‘Power’ or ‘Judgement’).

6 Tiferet (‘Beauty’).

7 Netzah (‘Victory’).

8 Hod (‘Splendour’).

9 Yesod (‘Foundation’).

10 Malkhut (‘Sovereignty’).

Subjects: Religion

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