Skip to main content

Sepher Yezirah

Fishburn and Hughes: From the Hebrew sepher, 'book' and yezirah 'creation': a speculative text dating from between the third and the sixth centuries which seeks to explain the act of creation as a process involving the transition of the universe from its infinite state to its finite manifestation. It is concerned with the changes that took place in the deity as it existed before the Creation - that is, as an ineffable and unfathomable being - to a more personalised presence in the biblical story of creation. Creation is related as a process involving the combination of ten divine emanations, or primordial numbers with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Together they form the 'thirty-two secret paths of wisdom' through which everything that is and will be exists. This belief illustrates the concept of the creative power of letters underlining the primordial function of language in the history of creation. It is said that 'the letters hover, as it were, on the boundary line between the spiritual and the physical world'. It should be pointed out that in Hebrew each letter is also a specific number, and in this sense a similarity may be detected between aspects of the Sepher Yezirah and Pythagoras' theories of creation. See Shem Hamephorash. Death and the Compass; The Secret Miracle