There is a tree in the earth and its height is great. The tree grew and became mighty, and its top reaches the heavens and its branches to the end of all the earth. Its foliage is lovely and its fruit great, and there is food for all in it. Beneath it the beasts of the field are shaded, and in its branches the birds of the heavens dwell, and all flesh is nourished from it (Daniel 4:7–9).
“I am the one who planted this tree for all the world to delight in. With it I spanned the All, calling it All, for all depends on it, all emanates from it, all need it, all gaze upon it and await it. From here souls fly forth in joy. Alone I was when I made it. When I spread out My earth, in which I planted and rooted this tree—giving them joy in one another, rejoicing along with them—who was with Me (Isaiah 44:24)? To whom could I reveal this secret of Mine?” (Bahir §22, cf. Ibn Ezra on Genesis 1:26).
“This Tree has its roots in the Lebanon, which is the Throne of Glory, blessed be He, and the Lebanon corresponds to the supernal Lebanon, and its roots are seventy-two roots” (Seder Gan Eden).
“What is [that which we recite in the Qedushah:] Holy, holy, holy, and then, YHWH of armies: the whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3)? Holy—supernal Crown [Keter]; holy—root of the Tree [Ḥokhmah]; holy—clinging, yet separate from them all [Binah or Malkhut]. YHWH of armies: the whole earth is full of His glory.
What is: ‘holy—clinging, yet separate’? A parable: A king had sons whose sons had sons. When the sons do his will, he enters their midst, making all endure, satisfying all, causing goodness to flow upon them, so that both fathers and sons are sated. When the children do not do his will, he only gives the fathers as much as they need [and no more. Cf. Bahir §113. On Binah, or Malkhut, as separate from the sefirot, see Bahir §104–§105, §124, §175. Cf. Zohar 3:288a (IZ). On the ‘world of separation,’ see Zohar 3:159b. On son clinging to father, see Zohar 2:147a]” (Bahir §128–§129).
“They asked [Rabbi Berakhiyah], ‘What is the letter צ (tsadi)?’ He said: ‘This is נ (nun) and י (yod)—צ (tsadi). Its partner [ץ (final tsadi)] is also נ (nun) and י (yod) [alluding to יִנּוֹן (yinnon), bear seed (Psalms 72:17), see Bahir §86]. As is written, צַדִּיק (Tsaddiq), the Righteous One, is a יְסוֹד עוֹלָם (yesod olam), lasting foundation (Proverbs 10:25)” (Bahir §61).
One pillar extends from earth to the firmament. Its name is צַדִּיק (Tsaddiq), Righteous One, named for the righteous. When there are righteous people in the world, the pillar is invigorated; if not, it is sapped. It upholds the entire world, as is written, The Righteous One is the יְסוֹד עוֹלָם (yesod olam), foundation of the world (Proverbs 10:25). If it weakens, the world cannot endure. So if the world contains just one righteous person, that person sustains the world [cf. BT Yoma 38b]” (Bahir §102).
“What is ש (shin)? It is root of the Tree—[say, rather] ש (shin) looks like the root of a tree.
What is this Tree that you speak of? The powers of the blessed Holy One, this one on the back of that one. Just like a tree brings forth fruit through water, so the blessed Holy One increases the powers of the Tree through water. What is the water of the blessed Holy One? חָכמָה (Ḥokhmah), Wisdom. It is the נְשָׁמוֹת (neshamot), souls, of the righteous. They gush from the spring to the great channel, ascend and cleave to the Tree. Through what do they gush? Through Israel. When they are righteous and good, the Shekhinah dwells among them. Their deeds then rest in the lap of the blessed Holy One, and He makes them fruitful and multiplies them” (Bahir §118–§119).
“The blessed Holy One has a single tree containing twelve גְבוּלֵי אֲלַכְסוֹן (gevulei alakhson), diagonal borders: The northeast border, the southeast border; the upper east border, the lower east border; the southwest border, the northwest border; the upper west border, the lower west border; the upper south border, the lower south border; the upper north border, the lower north border. ‘Deepening and expanding until evermore—זְרֹעֹת עוֹלָם (zero’ot olam), arms of the world [or: arms everlasting] (Deuteronomy 33:27)’ (Sefer Yetsirah §47). Within them is the Tree. Corresponding to these diagonals are twelve officials. Within the Wheel there are twelve officials too, and in the Heart, too, there are twelve officials—reckoning thirty-six officials. Each of these has another, as is written, for he who is high has a higher one watching him (Ecclesiastes 5:7) [reckoning seventy-two]. It therefore comes out that the east has nine, the west has nine, the north has nine, and the south has nine. These are twelve, twelve, twelve, and they are the officials in the תְּלִי (Teli) in every other one.
Even though there are twelve in each of the three, they are all attached to each other. Therefore, all thirty-six powers are in the first one, which is the Teli. And if you seek them in the Wheel, you will find the very same ones. And if you seek them in the Heart, you will again find the very same ones. Each one therefore has thirty-six; All of them are no more than thirty-six צוּרוֹת (tsurot), forms, and all of them are perfected in thirty-two [forms]; thirty-two given to thirty-two, and there remained [out of thirty-six] four; and they are sixty-four forms. How do we know that thirty-two are given to thirty-two? As is written, for he who is high has a higher one watching him—thus, there are sixty-four. But eight is [yet] lacking from the seventy-two names, and this is [alluded to] in and still higher ones over them (ibid.)—these are the seven days of the week [i.e., the seven lower sefirot]. But one is lacking, and that is [alluded to] in And the gain of the land is in everything—a king, is subject to the field (ibid. 5:8) [מֶלֶךְ (melekh), a king—מַלְכוּת (malkhut), Kingdom]. What is this gain? The place from which the earth was hewn. It is a gain over what existed previously. And what is this gain? When that which people see in the world is taken from its radiance—then it is a gain” (Bahir §95).
“There are three princes: Teli, Wheel, and Heart. Each one is twelve, and the three therefore reckon thirty-six, by which the world is sustained [see BT Sanhedrin 97b; Sukkah 45b], as is written: The Righteous One is the foundation of the world (Proverbs 10:25)” (Bahir §101).
“Rabbi Berakhiyah sat and expounded: What is the תְּלִי (Teli)? This is the likeness that is before the blessed Holy One, as is written, His locks are תַּלְתַּלִּים (taltallim), curled (Song of Songs 5:11) [the Teli is like a serpentine spine which twists the heavens, i.e., Draco, Axis Mundi, see Baraita de-Shemu’el, 1: ‘The elusive Serpent (Job 26:13) is the Teli’; Sefer Yetsirah §59a: ‘The Teli in the world is like a king on his throne.’ On the resemblance of the spine to a serpent, see BT Bava Qamma 16a]. What is the גַלגַל (galgal), Wheel? It is the בֶּטֶן (beten), Belly [‘Mother of the World,’ Binah, see Bahir §104. On the Wheel, see BT Shabbat 151a]. What is the לֵב (lev), Heart? Heart of the heavens (Deuteronomy 4:11). In it are the ל״ב (thirty-two) paths of Wisdom” (Bahir §106).
“Rav Raḥmai said: The righteous and devout in Israel who lift Me up over the whole world through their merits, from them the Heart is sustained, and the Heart sustains them [cf. JT Terumot 8:4, 46b]” (Bahir §97, cf. ibid., §185).
“Why is it called קָרְבָּן (qorban), sacrifice? Because it מְקָרֵב (meqarev), draws near, the holy powers, as is written, וְקָרַב (ve-qarav), and join, them one to another, into one Tree; and they shall become one in your hand (Ezekiel 37:17)” (Bahir §109).
“These are the explicit, precious, and magnificent names [cf. BT Qiddushin 72b]. There are twelve names, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel:
אהצי ציהרון אברוחיהרון ושבוב נומקרון [ושבוב נומקגון] דמורטרון צפצפשיתרון יהודמירון וחייהרון ברקיהאון ערשיה [עדרשיה] גאון כסאיה מנגמהון הוהו יה היו יהוי אה אהוה דמהדירון [cf. Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Pardes Rimonim, 21:9].
All of them are encompassed by the Heart of the heavens, and are divided into four names, male and female, overseen by Teli, Wheel, and Heart—they are מַבּוּעֵי דְּחָכְמְתָא (mabbu’ei de-ḥakhmeta), the wellsprings of Wisdom” (Bahir §112).