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Tree of Life

Straight Into the Round

Here is another colorful version I made of the Sefirotic Tree of Life.  In the Lurianic Kabbalistic tradition the straight lines of the Tree - particularly the three straight vertical columns - represent our ability to choose good from evil; or to act with mercy (associated with the right column), with judgment (associated with the left column), or compassion (a blend of the two associated with the middle column).  This 'Straight' aspect is the deeper and more profound aspect of our being and of our relationship with the Divine, and it is grounded in our nature - represented

Ezekiel Meditation

This painting illustrates a Kabbalistic meditation that was described to me by a very successful and spiritual friend.  The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the Merkava (God's Chariot or Vehicle).  The Kabbalah teaches that every human being becomes a Merkava by aligning oneself to God.  The Sefirotic Tree of Life is a map we can use to help us connect to God's Light and Love.  The Tree of Life in this meditation is formed with Thirteen Sefirot - a motif I have used in several paintings.  These form two Magen Davids (Stars of David) inbedded in two spheres that

Kosmic DNA

When the Sefirot are first presented in the Tanya (the classic text from the first Lubavitcher Rebbe) they are called Three Mothers and Seven Doubles.  The Three Mothers refer to the three higher Sefirot Keter, Chochmah and Binah (Crown, Wisdom and Understanding).  The Seven Doubles refer to the seven lower Sefirot Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malchut (Love, Strength, Beauty, Victory, Majesty, Foundation and Kingship).

Aleph - Tree of Life

I started to make Aleph paintings where its two Yods extend more from the ends of the diagonal Vav (or Wow) instead of from its middle (as I had done in earlier Alephs).  This is one example.  Here, instead of two Yods there are two birds (or flowers).  The birds are each comprised of ten parts for the Ten Sefirot, associated with the Tree of Life.

Acrylic on paper
60 x 50 cm

Rav Kook's Guide for the Perplexed

October 29, 2010 - The following teaching is a translation I made of a chapter from an unpublished book written by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook over a hundred years ago.  It deals with issues that caused young people of his generation to lose their faith in the Torah.  Since much of my website deals with cosmology and kabbalistic theories of Creation, I thought it would be nice to include Rav Kook's take on Evolution and the Story of Creation in Genesis.  (the italics are mine):

Slanted Sefirot #6

This slanted Tree of Life diagram retains the yellow diagonal that comes from the Wow or Vav of the Hebrew letter Aleph that underlies all of these slanted pictures.  Here is the waves/particles motif again, and the connecting lines extending outward in all directions, as well.

The choice of colors for the ten Sefirot is based on how the ten Sefirot become five Partzufim.  Each of the three higher Sefirot, Keter (white), Chochmah (blue), and Binah (red) become Partzufim by themselves.

Slanted Sefirot #3

In this picture I used the same slanted Tree of Life motif that I used in ‘One Together’ and ‘Waves and Particles’.  In those pictures I included Daat (Knowledge) as the eleventh circle or Sefirah.  Daat is the interface between the upper three Sefirot of the head and the lower seven Sefirot of the body.  It can be seen as consciousness itself.  Daat unites all ten Sefirot. 

Waves and Particles

The Sefirot are often described as emanations of God’s Infinite Light.  The Hebrew word for ‘light’ starts with the letter Aleph.  Kabbalists believe that God is One and can be found both in the Heavens and upon the Earth (God is both transcendent and immanent). 

Thirteen Sefirot

There are several different forms of the Tree of Life diagram that is used in the Kabbalah to represent the Sefirot.  I use several of these forms in the various picture that I make.  In the Lurianic tradition, Daat is not included as one of the Ten Sefirot because Daat is the ‘outside’ of Keter and the ‘inside’ of Tiferet.  In these diagrams Malchut is fallen, as I explained in my picture ‘Ten Sefirot of Nothingness’. 

Tree of Life

Life is a dynamic process of balancing between extremes - between hot and cold, between activity and rest, between expanding outward and contracting inward. When it's cold, we seek Fire to warm ourselves up.  When it's hot, we look for Water to cool ourselves down.

The lower half of this picture shows the root system of a Tree, resting in the cool, wet Earth.