views updated


SEFIROT (Heb. סְפִירוֹת; sing. סְפִירָה, a fundamental term of the *Kabbalah. It was coined by the author of the Sefer Yeẓirah who designated by it the ten primordial or ideal "numbers" (from the Hebrew root safor, to numerate). From the first sources of kabbalistic literature onward it was used in a much wider sense and denotes the ten stages of emanation that emerged from *Ein-Sof and form the realm of God's manifestation in His various attributes. Every single Sefirah points to an aspect of God in His capacity of Creator, forming at the same time a whole world of divine light in the chain of being. The whole of the ten Sefirot, forming the "Sefirot Tree," is conceived as a dynamic unity in which the activity of God reveals itself. The rhythm of the unfolding Sefirot is the fundamental rhythm of all creation and can be detected on each of its different levels. For details on the doctrine concerning the Sefirot see *Kabbalah.

[Gershom Scholem]