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Ein Sof and the Ten Sefirot

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The white in this picture represents God’s Infinite and Eternal Light (Ein Sof).  Just as a black canvas is formless and contains infinite potential, the Ein Sof contains infinite possibilities and is beyond what any finite being can perceive or know.  According to the Kabbalah, before the tzimtzum (the contraction of the Infinite Light that gave birth to creation) only the Ein Sof existed.  The tzimtzum reveals the Ten Sefirot (Ten emanations of visible light), and these were first expressed as the ten concentric colored circles in this picture.  The names of these Sefirot are written in these circles, from the largest to the smallest:

Keter-Crown,
Chochmah-Wisdom,
Binah-Understanding,
Chesed-Loving-kindness,
Gevurah-Strength,
Tiferet-Beauty,
Netzach-Eternity,
Hod-Majesty,
Yesod-Foundation
and Malchut-Kingship.

Notice how these circles are imperfect and incomplete.  Creation was intentionally made that way so we can be partners with God in repairing the world (Tikkun Olam).  Now look at the white circles.  See how they are complete and all connected to each other?  The formless Infinite Light is given form by the Sefirot, as our body expresses and gives form to our soul.  If you focus your eyes on the white circles in this picture, rather than the colored ones, the picture takes on three-dimensional depth, and can be seen as either a tunnel that goes in or a cone that goes out.

Even though we are incomplete, if we are open to receive God’s Infinite Light, we can be infused with the Light of the Ein Sof that fills all levels of our being and surrounds all these levels - both within and without.

The Lurianic Kabbalah thus teaches that a straight 'line' of Infinite Light enters the contracted place of the tzimtzum and divides into 'inner Light' and 'surrounding Light'.  The surrounding Light is all the white that can be seen in this picture; the inner Light is the white that is hidden beneath the ink and paint of the colored circles. 

When we look at the separate Sefirot we use (left-brain Understanding).  When we look at the white (representing the Ein Sof) that is received and contained by all ten Sefirot together we use (right-brain) Wisdom.  It is good to use both, as it says in Sefer Yetzirah, ‘understand with Wisdom and be wise with Understanding’.