The Ain Soph, the limitless Infinite, emanates all beings and qualifications that manifest themselves in the visible world.
Adolf Jelinek (Hebrew אהרן ילינק, Aharon Jelinek), was born in Moravia (now the Czech Republic) in 1821 and died in Vienna in 1893. He was a scholar emeritus and rabbi, promoter of the Jewish current of the New Teaching, writer of works on the Kabbalah, Midrash composer and fine speaker in Viennese synagogues. He published over 200 sermons. What follows is the analysis of some clarifying ideas on the Sephirot, treated according to Spinoza’s Ethica, one of the most ambitious works of the Dutch philosopher. In this short excerpt from Philosophie und Kabbala, Jelinek, like Spinoza, examines the definitions of Being based on a procedure made up of definitions or axioms and corollaries:
From the Being who is the cause and ruler of all things, I grasp the meaning of the Ain Soph, an infinite Being, without borders, absolutely identical to itself, united in itself, without attributes, will, intention, desire, and thought, word or deed.
From the Sephiroth, I comprehend the powers emanating from the Absolute (Ain Soph). They are entities limited in quantity, similarly to the will that – without changing its nature – aspires to different objects, which are the possibilities of multiple things.
The primary cause and ruler of the world is Ain Soph, which is both immanent and transcendent.
Every effect has a cause, and everything that has an order and a design has a regent.
All that is visible has a limit; what is limited is finite. What is finite is not identical; the primary cause of the world is invisible, therefore unlimited, infinite, absolutely identical. That is, it is the Ain Soph.
Since the primary cause of the world is infinite, nothing can exist without (EXTRA) of it; therefore, it is immanent.
Since Ain Soph is invisible and holy, it is the root of both faith and unbelief.
The Sephiroth are the mediators between the absolute Ain Soph and the real world.
Since the real world is limited and imperfect, it cannot proceed directly from the Ain Soph: the Ain Soph has yet to exert its influence on it, or its perfection would cease. The Sephiroth – that In their intimate connection with the Ain Soph are perfect and in their separation are imperfect – must be the mediators.
Since all existing things originate from the Sephiroth, there are three degrees in the real world: upper, middle, and lower (see Proposition VI below).
There are ten mediating Sephiroth.
All bodies have three dimensions, each of which repeats the others (3 x 3); and adding the space, we get the number ten. Since the Sephiroth are the powers of all that is limited, they must be ten.
The number ten does not contradict the absolute unity of the Ain Soph. As one is the basis of all numbers, plurality proceeds from unity; germs contain their development, just as fire, flame, sparks and colour have a joint base, although they differ from each other.
Just as cogitation or thought, and the mind as a contemplated object are limited, concrete and measurable, although pure thought proceeds from Ain Soph, so limit, measure and concreteness are the attributes of the Sephiroth.
The Sephiroth are emanations, not creations.
As absolute, the Ain Soph is perfect, and from this proceeding also the Sephiroth must be perfect; therefore, they are not created.
All created objects are reduced by abstraction; the Sephiroth do not diminish, as their activity is ceaseless; therefore, they cannot be created.
The first Sephira was in the Ain Soph as potential before it came to reality; then arose the second Sephira as a power for the intellectual world. Subsequently, the other Sephiroth appeared for the ethical and material world. However, this does not imply a prius et posterius (previous and next) or gradualness in the Ain Soph, but a light from which other lights shine, shining some before and some after, variously, to embrace everything in unity.
The Sephiroth are both active and passive (Meqabil Va-Metheqabel).
Since the Sephiroth do not exclude the unity of the Ain Soph, each of them must receive from its predecessor and give to its successor; that is, they must be receptive and distributive.
The first Sephira is called Inscrutable Highness, Rom Maaulah; the second, Wisdom, Chokmah; the third, Intelligence, Binah; the fourth, Love, Chesed; the fifth, Justice, Pachad; the sixth, Beauty, Tiphereth; the seventh, Firmness, Netzach; the eighth, Splendour, Hod; the ninth, the Righteous is the Foundation of the World, Tzediq Yesod Olaham; and the tenth Righteousness, Tzedek.
The first three Sephiroth form the world of thought, the following three the world of the soul, and the last four the world of the body; they match the intellectual, ethical, and material worlds.
The first Sephira is related to the soul, and is called Unity, Yechidah; the second, Chiah, Living; the third, in so far as it is designated Spirit, Ruach; the fourth is called the life Principle, Nephesh; the fifth is called the Soul, Neschamah; the sixth work on blood, the seventh on the bones, the eighth on the veins, the ninth on the flesh, the tenth on the skin.
The first Sephira is occult light, the second is sky blue, the third is yellow, the fourth is white, the fifth is red, the sixth is white-red, the seventh is whitish-red, the eight is reddish-white, the ninth is white-red whitish-reddish red-white, and the tenth is like the light that reflects all colours.