Ten Sefirot of Nothingness
Their vision is like the appearance of lightning
and their limit has no end.
They speak of them as running and returning.
They rush to His saying like a whirlwind,
and before His throne they bow.
Whenever the Sefer Yetzirah refers to the Sefirot it says, ‘of Nothingness’ - Blimah בלימהin Hebrew - which means without substance or ineffable. Unlike the ‘Foundation’ Letters which can be expressed in speech and are thus tangible, the Sefirot are conceptual, perceived in the mind. They represent five dimensions - Soul (the human mind/body) in Time and Space - or the human form as a reflection of all Creation. The Kabbalah teaches that God created and guides the Universe on our level, in a limited way we can understand because we create and guide our selves in a similar way, using the same attributes or Sefirot.
The Ten Sefirot are ‘a body’ or ‘garments’ that the Ein Sof puts on in order to relate to us on our limited level. We can contemplate God’s Wisdom because we can be wise ourselves. But we can never fully grasp God’s Wisdom because that is Infinite. We can contemplate God’s Loving-kindness because we can be loving and kind ourselves, but God’s Love and Kindness can never be fully grasped. We can have a vision or get a flash of insight into the nature of God’s Sefirot - ‘like the appearance of lightning’ - but if we ‘run’ to equate our attributes with God’s Attributes, we must ‘return’ to the truth that ‘their limit has no end’. That is why the Sefer Yetzirah says:
Ten Sefirot of Nothingness (בלימה)-
Bridle (בלום) your mouth from speaking and your heart from thinking.
And if your mouth ‘runs’ to speak and your heart to think,
‘return’ to the place,
as it says, "the Chayot (living angels) running and returning".
Regarding this a covenant was made.
When all the Sefirot of our mind/body relate to each other in a healthy, dynamic way - ‘running and returning like the appearance of lightning’ - and we ‘rush like a whirlwind to God’s saying’ like the living angels working to repair the world and we humbly ‘bow before His Throne’, we might discover that our ‘limits’ are really not as limited as we think they are.
This picture is a Tree of Life diagram showing the names of the Ten Sefirot. It is based on the Lurianic tradition where Daat is not included and Malchut is ‘fallen’. Because Malchut has to do with reproducing in our image, the Shechinah who is the source or ‘womb’ of all lower levels, I made two small microcosmic reflections of the entire Tree to complete what I felt was visually lacking on this level.
A big part of the Lurianic tradition is that all Worlds are damaged, but the physical World of Asiyah (associated with Malchut) is particularly broken and incomplete when there is a lack of Daat (Knowledge or consciousness). Daat represents the connection between the three Sefirot of the mind and the Sefirot of the body. When Daat is lacking, the connection of body, heart, mind and soul is not healthy and dynamic. And although we are meant to be partners with God in the work of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) we can feel very limited, weak, small, and alone. In the future all of this damage will be repaired. Daat will not be lacking and Malchut will be full and complete, as I show in my picture, ‘Thirteen Sefirot’.
Binah (left brain) Chochmah (right brain)
Gevurah (left arm) Chesed (right arm)
Hod (left leg) Netzach (right leg)