ספר יצירה (Sefer Yetsirah) The Book of Formation (MSS K)
By means of thirty-two wondrous paths of wisdom Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name (Isaiah 57:15), carved out. He created His world with three סֶפָרִים (sefarim), ciphers: with ספר ,ספר and ספר.
The ten סְפִירוֹת (sefiroth) are the basis and the twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mother letters, seven double [letters], and twelve simple [letters].
The ten sefiroth are the basis—like the number of the ten fingers, five opposite five and the covenant of the singular One is exactly in the middle in the covenant of the tongue and the circumcision of the flesh.
The ten sefiroth are the basis—ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Understand with wisdom, and be wise with understanding. Test them and investigate them, and get the thing clearly worked out and restore the Creator to His place.
The ten sefiroth are the basis: restrain your mouth from speaking, restrain your heart from thinking. And if your heart races return to the מַקוֹם (maqom), Place, thus it is written: running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14). And concerning this matter the Covenant was made.
The ten sefiroth are the basis. Their end is fixed in their beginning as the flame is bound to the burning coal. For the Lord is singular, and He has none second to Him; and before one, what can you count?
The ten sefiroth are the basis; their measure is ten for they have no limit: dimension of beginning and dimension of end, dimension of good and dimension of evil, dimension of above and dimension of below, dimension of east and dimension of west, dimension of north and dimension of south. And the singular Lord, a trustworthy divine king, rules over them all from His holy abode for ever and ever.
The ten sefiroth are the basis. Their appearance is like, the sight of lightning, and their end?—they have no limit. And His word is in them as though running and returning (Ezekiel 1:14), and they pursue His command like the storm wind, and before His throne they bow down.
The twenty-two letters are the foundation: three mother letters, seven double [letters], and twelve simple [letters].
Ten sefiroth, that is to say: One—the Breath of the Living God. Twice blessed is the name of the Vitality of the Worlds. Voice, and breath, and word—this is the Holy Breath.
The ten sefiroth are the basis: One—the רוּחַ (rhuaḥ), Breath, of the Living God; two—אֲוִיר (awir), air, from the Holy Breath; three—מַיִּם (mayyim), water, from air; four—אֵשׁ (esh), fire, from water; and above and below, east and west, north and south.
Two—air from Breath: He carved and hewed in it the twenty-two basic letters—three mother letters, and seven doubles, and twelve simple [letters]. And the Breath is one of them.
Three—water from air: He carved and hewed in it תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (thohu wah-vohu), welter and waste (Genesis 1:1), רֶפֶשׁ וָטִיט (rhefesh wah-tit), mud and mire (Isaiah 57:20). He carved them like a sort of garden-bed. He erected them like a sort of wall, and he wove them like a sort of roof [or: ceiling].
Four—fire from water: He carved them and hewed in it the throne of glory, and the ofanim and the serafim, and the holy living beings, and the ministering angels. And from the three of them He founded His abode, as it is said: He makes His messengers the winds, His ministers, glowing fire (Psalms 104:4).
Five—He sealed above. He chose three simple letters and fixed them in His great Name. And He sealed with them the six edges [of the world], and He turned upwards and scaled it. Seven—He sealed the east, and He turned downwards [in front] and sealed it. Eight—He sealed the west, and He turned behind and sealed it. Nine—He sealed the south, and He turned to his right and sealed it. Ten—He sealed the north, and He turned to His left and sealed it.
These ten sefiroth are the basis: the Breath of the Living God; and air, water, fire; above, below, east, west, north and south.
The twenty-two letters: they are hewn out in the air, carved out by voice, fixed in the mouth in five positions: אחהע בומפ גיכק דטלנת זסשרצ (tsadhi resh shin samekh zayin, taw nun lamed teth daleth, qof kaf yod gimel, peh mem waw bet, ‘ayin he ḥeth alef) [קְדוּשָׁה (qedhushah), Holiness].
The twenty-two letters are their foundation. It is fixed on a wheel with 231 gates. The wheel rotates backwards and forwards. And this is the sign: if for good, above—עֹנֶג (oneg), delight; if for evil, below—נֶגַע (nega), affliction.
Twenty-two letters: He carved them out, He hewed them, He weighed them, He exchanged them, He combined them and formed with them the נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), Soul, of all creation and the נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), life-breath [or: vital spirit], of all that would be formed [cf. M Sanhedrin 4:5]. How did He weigh and exchange them? א (Alef) with them all, and all of them with א (alef); ב (bet) with them all, and all of them with ב (bet). And they all rotate in turn. The result is that [they go out] by two hundred and thirty-one [gates]; the result is that all creation and all speech go out by one name.
He formed substance from תֹהוּ (thohu), choas, and He made them its existence, and He hewed out great columns from אֲוִיר (awir), intangible air. This is the sign:
אל בת גש דר הק וצ זפ חע טס ינ כמ אב גת דש הר וק זצ חפ טע יס כנ למ אג דת הש ור זק חצ טפ יע כס לנ במ אד בג הת וש זר חק טצ יפ כע לס מנ אה בד ות זש חר טק יצ כפ לע מס גנ או בה גד זת חש טר יק כצ לפ מע נס אז בו גה חת טש יר כק לצ מפ נע דס אח בז גו דה טת יש כר לק מצ נפ סע אט בח גז דו ית כש לר מק נצ ספ הע אי בט גח דז הו כת לש מר נק סצ עפ אכ בי גט דח הז לת מש נר סק עצ ופ אל בכ גי דט הח וז מת נש סר עק פצ אמ בל גכ די הט וח נת סש ער פק זצ אנ במ גל דכ הי וט זח סת עש פר צק אס בנ גמ דל הכ וי זט עת פש צר חק אע בס גנ דמ הל וכ זי חט פת צש קר אפ בע גס דנ המ ול זכ חי צת קש טר אצ בפ גע דס הנ ומ זל חכ טי קת רש אק בצ גפ דע הס ונ זמ חל טכ רת יש אר בק גצ דפ הע וס זנ חמ טל יכ שת אש בר גק דצ הפ וע זס חנ טמ יל כת את בש גר דק הצ ופ זע חס טנ ימ כל
He looks and exchanges; He makes all creation and all speech one name. And a sign for the matter: twenty-two objects and one body.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). Their basis is the scale of acquittal and the scale of guilt, and the tongue of law holds the balance between them.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—a great mystery, hidden and ineffable, and sealed with six seals. And from it goes out fire, and water and air, and it is divided into male and female.
Three—fire, water and air; fire above, water below, and air is between them. And this is a sign for the matter that fire evaporates water.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). מ (Mem) lifts up, and ש (shin) hisses, and א (alef) is the balancing item.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). And from them were born three fathers from whom everything was created.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in the world: air, and water and fire. Heavens were created first from fire, and earth was created from water, and light [air] was created from the רוּחַ (rhuaḥ), breath, holding the balance between them.
Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in the year: fire, and water and air. Heat was created from fire, and cold was created from water, and humidity from air holding the balance between them.
Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin)—in a נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), person. The head was created from fire, the belly from water, and the chest from air holding the balance between them.
Three mother letters א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). He carved them, hewed them, combined them and formed with them the three mother letters in the world, and the three mother letters in the year, and the three mother letters in a person—male and female.
He made א (alef) rule over רוּחַ (ruaḥ), breath, and bound to it a crown, and combined them with each other, and sealed with them אֲוִיר (awir), atmosphere, in the world, humidity in the year, and the chest in a person—male with א מ ש (alef, mem, shin) and female with ש מ א (shin, mem, alef).
He made מ (mem) rule over מַיִּם (mayyim), water, and bound to it a crown, and sealed with it earth in the world, cold in the year, and the fruit of the belly in a person; male with מ ש א (mem, shin, alef), and female with מ א ש (mem, alef, shin).
He made ש (shin) rule over אֵשׁ (esh), fire, and bound to it a crown, and combined them with each other, and sealed with it heavens in the world, heat in the year, and the head in a person, male with ש מ א (shin, mem, alef), and female with מ א ש (mem, alef, shin).
How did he combine them? אמש אשמ מאש משא שמא שאמ (Alef mem shin, alef shin mem, mem alef shin, mem shin alef, shin mem alef, shin alef mem)—heavens/fire, air/breath, earth/water. Man’s head is fire, his belly water, his heart breath/air.
Three mother letters: א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). There was formed with א (alef): breath, air, humidity, chest, law, and tongue. There was formed with מ (mem): earth, cold, belly, and the scale of acquittal. There was formed with ש (shin): heavens, heat, head, and the scale of guilt. This is א מ ש (alef, mem, shin). The end.
Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions. Their basis is life and peace, wisdom, wealth, prosperity, beauty and mastery. They are pronounced with the tongue in two different positions: ב (bet, vet), ג (gimel, ghimel), ד (daleth, dhaleth), כ (kaf, khaf), פ (peh, feh), ר (resh, rhesh), ת (taw, thaw)—דָּגֵּשׁ (dagesh), and רָפֵה (rafeh), soft and hard, a paradigm of strong and weak. They are double letters because they are opposites. The opposite of life is death; the opposite of peace is evil; the opposite of wisdom is folly; the opposite of wealth is poverty; the opposite of prosperity is desolation; the opposite of beauty is ugliness; and the opposite of mastery is slavery.
Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). Seven edges: a place of edges and a holy place; one—a place set within a place; two—the upper edge, three—the lower edge, four—the eastern edge, five—the western edge, six—the northern edge, seven, the eternal edge, and the holy Temple set in the middle and it supports them all.
Seven double letters: בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw). He carved and hewed them, He combined them, and formed with them the planets in the world, the days in the year, and the gates in a person by sevens.
How did he combine them? Two stones build two houses; three build six; four build twenty-four; five build one hundred and twenty; six build seven hundred and twenty; seven build five thousand and forty [i.e., factorials]. From here on go out and ponder what the mouth cannot speak, and what the ear cannot hear.
And with them were carved out seven firmaments, seven earths, seven hours and seven times. Therefore He loved the seventh under the heavens.
These are the seven planets in the world: חַמָה (ḥamah), Sun, נוֹגַה (noghah), Venus, כּוֹכָב (kokhav), Mercury, לְבָנָה (levanah), Moon, שַׁבְתַאִי (shabbethai), Saturn, צֶדֶק (tsedheq), Jupiter, מַאְדִים (ma’adhim), Mars. And the days in the year: the seven days of creation. And the seven gates in a person: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth [cf. Deuteronomy 16:18: Judges and overseers you shall set for yourself within all your gates].
Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof). Their basis is sight, hearing, smelling, speaking, eating, sexual intercourse, action, walking, anger, laughter, contemplation, sleep.
Their measure is twelve diagonal lines [or: edges]: the north-eastern line, the south-eastern line, the upper eastern line, the lower eastern line, the lower northern line, the north-western line, the upper northern line, the lower western line, the south-western line, the upper western line, the lower southern line, the upper southern line. And they expand continually for ever and ever—arms עוֹלָם (olam), everlasting [alt., arms of the world] (Deuteronomy 33:27).
He made them a sort of lawsuit, He arranged them in battle array, One opposite the other God made them (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
Three—each one stands by itself; seven are at loggerheads—three against three, and one is the law which holds the balance between them. Twelve stand in battle array: three love but three hate; three give life but three kill. And the divine, trustworthy King rules over them all—one on top of three, and three on top of seven, and seven on top of twelve. And they all cling to each other.
Twelve simple letters: הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof). He carved them and hewed them out, He weighed them and exchanged them, and formed with them the twelve constellations in the world, twelve months in the year, and the twelve principal organs in a person. These are the twelve constellations in the world: in the world: טָלֶה (taleh), Aries, שׁוֹר (shor), Taurus, תְּאוֹמִים (te’omim), Gemini, סַרְטָן (sartan), Cancer, אַרְיֵה (aryeh), Leo, בְּתוּלָה (bethulah), Virgo, מֹאזְנַיִם (moznayim), Libra, עַקְרָב (‘aqrav), Scorpio, קַשָּׁת (qashath), Sagittarius, גְּדִי (gedhi), Capricorn, דְּלִי (deli), Aquarius, דָּגִים (daghim), Pisces. And these are the twelve months: נִיסָּן (Nissan), אִייָר (Iyyar), סִיוָן (Siwan), תַמוּז (Thammuz), אָב (Av), אֱלוּל (Elul), תִּשְׁרֵי (Tishrhei), מַרְחֶשְׁוָן (Marḥeshwan), כִּסְלֵו (Kislew), טֵבֵת (Teveth), שֵׁבֶט (Shevet), אֲדָר (Adhar). And these are the twelve principal organs in a person: the right hand, the left hand, the right foot, the left foot, two kidneys, the liver, the gall, the spleen, the gullet, the stomach, and the intestines.
Three mother letters, and seven double letters, and twelve simple letters.
These are the twenty-two letters [on which] Yah YHWH of Armies, God of Israel, the Living God, Almighty, high and exalted, dwelling for ever, and Holy is His Name [founded the world] (Isaiah 57:15).
Three fathers and their generations, and seven dominant ones and their hosts, and the twelve diagonal lines [or: edges]. And a proof for the matter—trustworthy witnesses: the world, the year and a person.
There is a law of ten, three, seven and twelve. They are officials over the תָּלִי (Tali) [alt., תְלִי (Theli)], Quiver, the Wheel, and the Heart. The Quiver in the world is like a king [reclining] on his throne; the Wheel in the year is like a king [touring] in a province; the Heart in a person is like a king at war.
When Abraham our father observed, and looked, and saw, and investigated, and understood, and carved, and hewed, and combined, and formed, and succeeded, the Lord of all was revealed to him. And He made him sit in his lap, and kissed him upon his head. He called him His friend and named him His son, and made a covenant with him and his seed for ever. And he trusted in YHWH, and He reckoned it to his merit (Genesis 15:6). He made with him a covenant between the ten toes of his feet—it is the covenant of circumcision. He made with him a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands—it is the covenant of the tongue. He bound twenty [-two] letters into his tongue, and the Omnipresent revealed to him His secret. He drew them out in water, he burned them with fire, he shook them in the air, he branded them into the seven, he led them into the twelve constellations.
(1) Air and temperate state and chest; earth, cold and the belly; heavens and heat and the head. This is א מ ש (alef, mem, shin).
(2) Saturn, Sabbath and the mouth; Jupiter, the first day of the week and the right eye; Mars, the second day of the week and the left eye; the Sun, the third day of the week and the right nostril; Venus, the fourth day of the week and the left nostril; Mercury, the fifth day of the week and the right ear; the Moon, the sixth day of the week and the left ear. This is בּג״ד כּפר״ת (bet, gimel, daleth, kaf, peh, resh, taw).
(3) Aries, Nisan, the liver; Taurus, Iyyar, the gall; Gemini, Siwan, the spleen; Cancer, Thammuz, the gullet; Leo, Av, the right kidney; Virgo, Elul, the left kidney; Libra, Tishrhei, the intestines; Scorpio, Marḥeshwan, the stomach; Sagittarius, Kislew, the right hand; Capricorn, Teveth, the left hand; Aquarius, Shevet, the right foot; Pisces, Adhar, the left foot. This is הוזחט״י לנסעצ״ק (he, waw, zayin, ḥeth, teth, yod, lamed, nun, samekh, ‘ayin, tsadhi, qof).
1 Three are hostile and these are they: the tongue, the liver and the gal.
2 Three love: the heart, the ears and the eyes.
3 Three give life: the two nostrils and the liver of the left side.
4 Three kill: the two lower orifices and the mouth.
5 There are three which are in man’s control: the feet, the hands and the mouth.
6 There are three which are not in man’s control: his two eyes, his ears and his nostrils.
7 Three evil things are heard by the ear: cursing, blasphemy and an evil report.
8 Three good things are heard by the ear: blessing, a good report and praise.
9 Three sights are bad for the eye: adultery, an evil eye and a deceptive look.
10 Three sights are good for the eye: modesty, a good eye, and a trustworthy look.
11 Three things are bad for the tongue: He who speaks in the presence of the slanderer, he who speaks one thing with the mouth but another with the heart, and he who speaks too much.
12 Three things are good for the tongue: silence, reticence, and speaking the truth.
Whoever understands this book and keeps it has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This is the book of Abraham our father, peace be upon him, which is called The Book of Formation.
There is no limit to the wisdom of everyone who looks into it. And the mysteries of the upper and lower world will be revealed to everyone who occupies himself with it and studies it and knows its mysteries, and he has the assurance that he is a son of the World that is Coming. This book, which is called The Secret of Intercalation on which the whole world depends, should not be handed over to anyone except he who turns away from evil and fears God and waits and hopes for his Creator, as it is said, steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in YHWH (Psalms 32:10), and it says, Israel is saved by YHWH with an everlasting salvation, you will not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity (Isaiah 45:17).