|In this approach to the extended Tree of Life, we begin at the bottom, in the lower
face of Asiyyah. This is associated with the physical world of mankind. As this lower face
does not underlay any of the three higher worlds, it is the part of man that withers out
The majority of people on the planet exist in this realm. This includes
those who neither rise to positions of great knowledge or leadership, nor are concerned
with issues of the soul, spirit and divine. The main functions at this level are those
associated with the physical needs and desires of the body.
A certain percentage of human beings excel within the world of Asiyyah. They become
great leaders, teachers, businessmen, etc. Such people have a higher knowledge of the
world of this physical world, which is associated with the Sephirah of Da'at (knowledge)
in Asiyyah (E). This Sephirah is associated with our ego and as seen on
the extended Tree, underlays the Yesod (foundation) (E) of the next world
From here, people can reason concerning the things of God (Isaiah 1:18). If a person
chooses to ignore spiritual things, then the Keter of Asiyyah (F) remains
the pinnacle for their life. As Asiyyah is the physical realm, none of what such a person
learns or creates in this world can follow their soul upon death (i.e., Matthew 6:19-21;
However, if a person seeks God's truth, then the Da'at of Asiyyah (E)
becomes converted to the Yesod of Yetzirah, (E) giving that person a
"foundation" (Yesod) in the world of the soul (Yetzirah). Now the Keter of
Assiyah (F) becomes for them the Tipheret of Yetzirah (F),
which is called, the Sephirah of Truth.
Recall that the Keter of Assiyah (F) is also the Malkhut of Beriah (F)
- the "Kingdom of Heaven." Such a person has taken the advice of
Yeshua, who said to, "seek first the Kingdom of Heaven." The journey up Jacob's
Ladder has begun.
This method of "heading up the tree" (toward God), by converting the
"upper face" of one world to the "lower face" of the next, is seen as
"returning" to God. The Hebrew word for this process is
"teshuvah," commonly called "repentance." (Recall how Daniel did
teshuvah for his people and was rewarded with the visitation of the angel and prophetic
Once a person is established in the Yesod of Yetzirah (E),
he is on the "Path of the Tzaddik" (marked by the "G"
in the diagram), discussed several places earlier in this study, including our section on the World of Yetzirah, as
well as Methods of Study.
The goal of this path is to attain Tipheret above (F) (which is also the
Malkhut of Beriah - the Kingdom of God). Specifically the tzaddik seeks to remain in
"balance" on this path, not straying too far to the left or the right. (i.e.,
Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:20).
The left side is often associated with obedience to the Torah's commands, and the right
with the desire to do things for God. An example of a person who is "out of
balance" to the left side, might be someone who studies the commands of Torah but is
complacent about transforming what they learn to their life. (i.e., Matthew 23:23; 1
Corinthians, 13:1-3). Someone out of balance to the right side may be
"fanatical" for God in their own mind, but not according to what God wants as
shown in His Torah.
A concrete example of balance is seen in the Torah schools of Rabbi's Hillel and
Shammai, around the time of Yeshua.Traditionally, those of Hillel are associated with
teaching more from the "lenient" (merciful) right side, and Shammai with the
"strict" left side. As long as the argument between these groups was "for
the sake of Hashem," this was a healthy situation (as "iron sharpens
iron"). Historically however, animosity developed between the two groups, the result
of which was not to anyone's benefit.
(The above situation also gives some background insight behind Yeshua's insistence that
His disciples "love one another." We must realize that we all, "see darkly
as through a glass.")
When someone on the path of the Tzaddik (G) keeps themself "in
balance," and properly applies God's Torah to all aspects of their life (physical,
emotional, mental, i.e., Deuteronomy
6:5 as discussed earlier), they will come to attain the level of Tipheret in Yetzirah (F)
- the beginning point of the Kingdom of God (Malkhut of Beriah). This Sephirah is also
called the Seat of Solomon, due to its critical location, connecting the three
worlds of Asiyya, Yetzirah and Beriah. Solomon himself was called, "a man who knew
This person is now at the Triad of the soul, found between Tipheret (F),
Hesed (H) and Gevurah (I) in Yetzirah. From Tipheret in
Yetzirah, they now have access to the Da'at (knowledge) of Yetzirah (J),
which is in turn the Yesod (foundation) of the spiritual realm of Beriah (J).
This is a critical Sephirah in the journey up Jacob's ladder. One must first establish a
firm foundation (Yesod) in Beriah (J) in order to "enter the Kingdom
of Heaven" (Malkhut of Beriah) (F).
(Note: The Zohar considers this to be the granting of a "higher soul" called
the Neshemah, placing the Neshemah above the Ruach (spirit) and Nefesh (soul) of
man. Other Kabbalistic traditions place the Neshemah and Nefesh below the Ruach. This is a
matter of phraseology, the concepts are quite the same (i.e., man has a "basic
soul" similar to animals, a human soul/spirit that enables him to seek God, and is
granted a higher soul/spirit [or "higher level" of soul/spirit], when he makes
this connection). See also the firstpart of our study on Tipheret.
This Sefirah (the Yesod of Beriah (J) is a critical junction point for
- As the Yesod of Beriah (the world of Spirit), this is where a person establishes a
- As it is simultaneously the "Da'at of Yetzirah," this Sephirah receives
directly from Hokhma (K) and Binah (L) of Yetzirah,
which in turn are overlayed by the Beriatic Sephirot of Netzah (K)
and Hod (L), thus giving a person insight from the Heavenly realm.
- It is exactly midway up/down the extended Tree. Here a person goes from a stage of
"approaching" God, to one of deveikut (communion/clinging) with God
(i.e., Deuteronomy 4:4 and also John 15:14-15).
- It links the lower face of Beriah (B) to the upper face of Yetzirah (C).
As discussed, the former is associated with Spirit, the latter with Water. Thus, someone
firmly established in these two worlds is "born again" and has entry into the
Kingdom. i.e., "Yeshua answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one
is born of Water (Yetzirah) and the Spirit (Beriah), he cannot enter the kingdom of
God" (the Malkhut of Beriah) - John 3:5
- As we will discuss in a later section on the Temple, this Sephirah is also associated
with the Incense Altar - another representation of connecting with God.
From the point of the Yesod in Beriah (J), the next Sephirah along the
central pillar is Tipheret in Beriah (M), which as mentioned earlier, is
where the three upper worlds of Azilut, Beriah and Yetzirah meet. This Sephirah (M)
is known as the Seat of Messiah, and is also associated with the Throne of
Heaven. Few people in history have ascended to this level, as it is accessible only to
those of great spiritual merit.
From this point, one has contact with the Divine Realm (the Malkhut of Azilut (M)
similar to that of Adam and Eve before the fall, when they existed in the Garden of Eden.
AZILUT AND THE TORAH
In one of our earlier studies on Messiah, we discussed the
concept of a "higher level" of the Torah, which we referred to as the Supernal
Torah. Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a modern Orthodox Kabbalist, speaks of the Supernal Torah as
the "Torah of Azilut."
The goal of Torah IS perspective, and must remain so. For, even Torah
can become a distraction from the true goal of life, albeit one of the safer and holier
ones. However, even people who learn Torah can remain on spiritually low levels,
relatively speaking, and become terrible representatives for G-d's holiest gift to mankind
after life itself.
This happens when the study of Torah remains on the level
of "Asiyah," the World of Action, which Toras Beriyah, the level of Torah within
our possession ever since the Jewish people sinned with the golden calf, deals with
primarily. Usually out of ignorance, sometimes out of fear, people can forget that Torah
Beriyah is only meant to be a threshold to Toras Atzilus, the much higher, more sublime
level of Torah understanding - the ULTIMATE big picture.
All right, not everyone, and even most people are not prepared to
make the jump to such a higher level of Torah understanding. In fact, doing so prematurely
can lead to even greater ills than not trying at all. Therefore, like all of Judaism,
Torah-understanding is a spiritual and intellectual tight-rope balancing act. But, walk
the rope we must, if we are to gain and maintain the necessary perspective to not become
"servants" to our yetzer haras - the ultimate form of idol worship.1