Kabbalah: "Sefer Yetzirah" 231 Gates

Tzeruf: Permutating— the act of combining

BKabbalah's Secret Circles by Robert Zuckery Robert Zucker

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TZERUF: the act of combining, to join, to permutate (mental Hebrew letter permutation). It uses language to cut through its structure and enables super rational realm quickly. Its aim is at disorientation following repeated pronunciation of now meaningless phrase. Out of that comes "meaning beyond meaning.”:

In combination with specific breathing techniques and contemplation on body centers meditation on letter produces ecstasy almost immediately.[1]


Creation of the World

According to some Midrashic and Talmudic statements, the world was created by the combination of letters, [possibly the letters of the Divine Name].


“Every word of Gd is permuted (tzeruf). He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." [2]


"Move the letters about" says R. Shem Tov Seph “By means of combining the letters of the ineffable names as recorded in the “SPR ITsIRH” (i.e., the sealing names enumerated in the first chapter, being permutations of IHV0}

This teaches that true knowledge depends on Gd's saying, which must be permuted and tested through such permutation.


Biblical Refere

"A permutater (me-teref) 

for silver a furnace for gold,

but Gd tests the heart." [3]


“He [Gd] permuted the speech according to its letters and its vocalizations. [niqqudav].”

R. Shabbati Donnolo’s (Italy) "Long" recension of the “Sefer Yezirah.”  In his “Commentary on Sefer Yezirah”, fol. 69c: 913-982 [4]

nces to Combining Letters  

"Bezaleel [architect of Tabernacle in the desert]

knew how to join together (le-tsa-ref)

the letters by means of which

the heavens and the earth were created."

This is because he was

"filled with the spirit of GD,

with wisdom and understanding." [5]


"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth."[6]


Abraham and the Letter Combinations;

[Abraham] combined [the letters] and was successful [in creating] a creature, as it is said, “The .souls; they made in Haran.” [8];   

We learn that Abraham our ancestor occupied himself with the combinations of letters of the “Sefer Yezirah”,; as our sages, blessed be their memory, said Rava created a man;...and they said,

“And I shall fill him with the spirit of Gd.”[9] Bezaleel knew how to combine the letters by means of which heaven and earth were created. And when she emerged, [‘atarah[10]], the Master [of the universe] revealed onto him [yesod]

and He called him His beloved,

because ten sefirotten were engraved in his form.

R. Joseph ben Shalom Ashkenazi. Joseph ben Shalom;[12]


[Abraham]...combined [letters] in order to create a certain being, and he formed, as in the case of Ravawho created a man [as reported] in Sanhedrin, and he was successful and he actualized the science of formation [hohkmat ha-yezirah]; because by this [operation] the issue of formation was proven to him, and their transformation of nature [hippukh ha-teva’];, which contradicts the opinion of [philosophic] speculation...

and the Lord revealed to him, etc...

then, when he was convinced and

he became stable in [his] belief in true belief...

he Lord was revealed to him by way of prophecy.

Moses Cordovero,[13]


Source of the Combination Technique

The source of the technique of combining the letters of the Tetragrammaton with each letter of the alphabet to create a creature may  be ancient. Rashi wrote in his commentary on the Sanhedrin passage:

by means of “Sefer Yezirah”,

they [!] studied the combinations of the letters 

of the (divine) Name.

The Divine Name involved in the creative process of the golem, according to a technique found in “Sefer Yezirah.”

Although the “Sefer Yezirah” does not mention the combination technique to be used to create a golem, nor does the Talmudic passage[14] refer to “Sefer Yetzirah”, Rashi’s view  may be his own or one passed on to him to tie the two together.[15]


The “Sefer Yezirah”

In the late Talmudic period (300-600BC), the mystical work, “Sefer Yezirah” appeared.

This Judaeo-Pythagorean mystical "book" was said to be of Abraham's meditations on the laws of creation, immediately before his first revelation from Gd. [16]

The “Sefer Yezirah” portrays the origins of the universe through various combinations, reversals and augmentations of the Hebrew letters and symbols which underline all human speech.

About the same time the “Sefer Yezirah” appeared, a Talmudic story emerged about Rav Zera, Hanina, Oshaya's creations.


Harkavah— Grafting Letters

Harkavah is described as "One who looks at the gazing (tzefiyat) of the Merkavah." Abulafia states this was known to the sages by a tradition from the prophets and consisted of "grafting" (harkavah vcfrv) of one letter to another, new word to another, one Divine Name to another."

Each combination joins the power of the Divine Names, Sefiroth and letters.

This influences the individual and directs him to form every possible permutation. Their essence is sealed in every permutation.

The key of wisdom is given to the one who "gazes, sees and understands."

Abulafia says when the power of the influx begins to manifest itself and reveals itself to the one gazing in the "mirror," the letters and Sefiroth begin to appear like lightning flashes, as the visions of the Chayot (Hayyot). As it is said "The Chayot ran and returned, like a vision of lightning."; [17]

In “Sefer Yezirah”, the phrase "Their vision (tzafiyah), is like a flash of lightning,; refers to prophecy and the mystical vision.


 70 Languages

"And it is stated in the Haggagdah '[the angel] Gabriel came and taught him

seventy languages in one night."

 And if you believe that

[what was taught was] the actual languages, you make a foolish error.

Rather, this is Gabriel,

regarding whom it was written[18],

"Then I heard a holy one speak" i.e. he was speaking in the holy tongue...In actuality, he taught him the order of all languages, derived from the Sefer Yetzirah by very subtle means...so that he will recognize the order that reveals the ways of all languages— however many there may be. And it is not meant that there are necessarily only 70 languages

 or [even] thousands of them."

"The true tradition that we have received states that anyone who is not proficient in letter combination, and [who is not] tested and expert in it, and in the numerology of letters, and in their differences and their means of exchange, as these methods are taught in Sefer Yetzirah, does not know the Name [or G-d] in accordance with our method."



Letter Combination Techniques

All words arising from combination of letters are combined and permutated with Tetragrammaton (YHVH), from which emanated whole creation of language.

Letters of Tetragrammaton are actually vowels.[20] Vowels are original letters of Tetragrammaton which symbolize whole universe.

These vowels are placed at beginning, middle, end of alphabet to signify "IH" is Gd of whole universe- the Beginning Middle and End.[21]

The 4 elements emanated from 4 vowels (AAyVY). The consonants depend on vowels, and are made in a form of a "state arranged like an army in battle array.[22]"


R. Eleazar of Worms, R. Eleazar; (1160-1238),

The practice of combining and permutating the Divine Name occlude during the time of R. Eleazar of Worms. Eleazar; and Spanish Kabalists.

It is believed that the techniques are directly connected to Ashkanazic culture.

Abulafia mentions Eleazar's works frequently. R. Joseph ben Shalom Ashkenazi. Joseph ben Shalom; and R. David ben Yehuda he-Hasid. David ben Yehuda ; were both familiar with combination techniques during the late 13th and 14th centuries. The techniques possibly passed from Germany to Spain.

R. Eleazar wanted to keep the pronunciation of the divine name secret because it may be mishandled.

Abulafia sought to reveal it, believing the Messanic eon has arrived.

“He pronounces the holy names or names of the angels in order to be shown [whatever] he wishes, or to inform him of a hidden nature, and then the Holy Spirit reveals itself to him, and his flesh...trembles..because of the strength of the holy Spirit."

Sefer ha-Hayyim:[24]


Recipes for creating a golem but the special use of letter combinations are found in "Sefer Ha-Ba" Commentary in the chapter."Pe'ullah ha-yetsirah" the "practice or practical application of.."[25]

The most extensive version is the  Przemysl Edition[27] which contains tables of combinations reprinted by Naphtali ben Jacob Bacharach in the 17th century. "Emek ha-Melek" contains the tables without instructions.[28]

The instruction specify that 2 or 3 adepts, joined in the golem ritual, should take some virginal mountain earth, knead it in running water, and form a golem with it.

Over this figure they recite the combinations of the alphabet derived from the "221 gates of the Book Yezirah," which according to Eleazar, form 221 combinations (not 231).

The characteristic feature is the combinations of each of their letters with each consonant of the Tetra, according to every possible vocalization.

It is possible it was limited to the recitation of all the possible combinations of two (in every conceivable vocalization) between one of the consonants, according to the "Sefer Yezirah" which governs a part of the human organism, and one consonant of the Tetragrammaton (vowel letters which make up the name of Gd).

A final step was the incision on its forehead of the name of Gd, or of the word EMeT ("truth"). The creature was destroyed by removing the initial letter of EMeT, leaving "dead", or by reversing the combinations.

Another one of Eleazar's works "Sade Razaya,  (Secrets of Mysticism),"[29].


Hasidic Movement, 1000-1200AD

During 11-13th centuries AD, thousands of names of angels.; were created through Temura, gematria, ppermutation of letters, juggling the Hebrew alphabet, by adding "EL" to any word which could be manipulated.

 In the 12-13 century AD, the Hasidic (Pietist); movement in Germany developed golem legend. From them comes the word "golem" to designate the creature made by the invocation of names during mystical rites.

The rite to create a golem actually existed. It did not seem to serve any materialistic purpose but was essentially a symbolic spiritual experience, according to Scholem’s theory.

Hasidics attained a successful creation as a culmination of their studies of the ”Sefer Yezirah” and other texts. The golem eventually became an actual creature serving his master and fulfilling misname tasks, such as housework.

In the process, they would take virgin earth, mold it into a golem, or bury the golem made from clay in the earth, and bring it to life by walking around it while reciting the proper combinations of letters and mystical names of Gd. Walking and reciting in the opposite direction reversed the order. The golem would become lifeless.


Abraham Abulafia

R. Eleazar of Worms and Abulafia present combination techniques connected with the recitation of the alphabet in the "Sefer Yezirah."

Abulafia wrote about it in “Sefer Hayye ha-Olam ha-Ba," "Sefer ha-Heshek" and "Sefer 'Imrei Shefer."

Others who used Abulafia's or similar techniques include R. Isaac of Acre, R. Shem Tov ibn Gaon and R. Elnathan ben Moses Kalkis.

Abulafia explains the stages of the combinations of letters:

At beginning stage:

"revolve the languages until they return

to their prime material state." 

This means break up words to their constituent letters, which are the prime material

of all languages.

The second stage

is the creation of new words, i.e., the (re)combination of the letters from their prime-material state.

"to create from the wondrous innovations,

for the combinations of the letters

include the 70 languages."

He further mentions,

“And the sixth is the method of returning

the letters to their prime-material state

and giving them form in association with

the power of intellect that issues forms."[30]


(Here) From this (the combinations)

Gd begins to make concrete things from chaos.

Yastar (formed)

(From the nonexistent He made Something;)

(Created reality from nothing) (Create substance from the formless) (Create from the

formless and make the non-existent exist);

with Tohu Mamasch (material reality)

& Assa (made from)

(and all forms of speech and everything that has been produced; from the empty void

He made the material world; from the inert earth He brought forth everything that hath life.)

(called the non-entity into existence)

its AYN, Taschanou (its slumber)

(the first thing He makes)& hewed (or chiselled) (He hewed, as it were great pillars (pages of a book) (vast columns) (colossal pillars from intangible air) (great pillars from intangible air) (out of this intangible air) (large columns out of the intangible, as opposed to atmospheric, air )with the air (or atmosphere) (to support the physical universe) This is the token. This is the sign that Aleph combines with all and all with Aleph.

(This has been shown by the example of combining the letter Aleph with all the other letters, and all the other letters with aleph) (and by the power of His name made every creature and everything that is;) for its Ayn to seize (pl.) & that is the proof (or sign) of the watcher (Tsofah).

With what is being projected is made everything that is formed (just as) the words (everything that is spoken) (everything is) (goes out from)

One Name (one term).

He predetermined, (He looked) and by speaking (He spoke) created every creature (make all creation) and every word (all language) by (from) one Name (term). (for an illustration may serve

'the 22 elementary substances

by the primitive substance of Aleph)

2.6c And this is the sign: & the proof of the saying: (and the production of all things from

the 22 letters is the proof that)

He beheld, (looks) exchanged, (and speaks) and brought forth the whole creation (and He makes everything that is formed and everything that is spoken with One term.) and all objects (by means of) one combination of letters, the token (sign) of (the thing) which is they are but parts of

(the 22 inclinations, objects, needs)

(one living body) a single body in one body)[31].



Abulafia calls his "science of the combination of letters" Hochmah ha-Tseruf (;urm vnfuj), a methodical guide to meditation with the aid of letters and their configurations. The letters do not have to mean anything. This method utilizes letters in a certain manner to attain the divine language.

"Know that the method of Tseruf (;urm) can be compared to music; for the ear hears sounds from various combinations, in accordance with the character of the melody and the instrument..." [32]

The continuous, monotonous repetition of letters and sounds excites the mind, rather than dulls it. This is done in combination with various bodily and breathing techniques.

There are two stages in the creation process, according to Abulafia,

1) the combinations of the alphabets and

2)  the combinations of the letters of the divine name

Shefa Formula To bring down the Shefa (by Abraham Abulafia, 1200AD) Permutation of formula that spells "king" while moving head up and down to sound of vowel "o" and "i"; forward and backward to the "u"; right and left to the "a" "e"; which commemorated the presence of the "king" in the 6 spatial directions

The meditation upon the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in combination with themselves and the Divine Name, can produce ecstatic experiences, according to many Kabalists, including Abraham Abulafia, a master of “tzeruf” during the 1200’s in Spain. Meditation performed by a pure human being on any letter was just like meditating on the entire Creation.


The method of Tzeruf uses language to cut through its own structure and  enables the mystic super rational realm very quickly. The Kabalist who practiced this extraordinary form of contemplation, studies a biblical phrase until the rational meaning is lost, and in the disorientation following the repeated pronunciation of new meaningless phrase comes "meaning beyond meaning.” Combined with specific breathing techniques and contemplation of body centers meditation on the letters produces ecstasy almost immediately.[33]


The gate of the secret of zeruf combination of letters], we asked the sage, “Anytime we ask you anything your answer is, ‘Great is the power of the zeruf.’” He answered to us, “You know that by the combination of the letters of His names, Gd created everything. And our ancestor, blessed be his memory, out of the the combination of the letters which he was taught...he achieved the entire gist of His unity and the strength of all the formations, and he almost reached that degree that he knew how to form excellent formations, namely formations of thought [yezirot mahshaviyot], and this is the reason he called his excellent book by the name “Sefer Yezirah.”[34]


Stages of Permutation

Abulafia,  describes three stages of letter permutation 

MIVTA; Articulation of Letters

MIKJTAV; Writing the Letters

MASHAV: Contemplating the Letters

i.“Kabbalah, the Way of Jewish Mystic”, p. 77

These three levels are similar to “Sefer Yetzirah’s” three levels of the siphorim in Chapter 1.


Methods of Letter Permutation

Abulafia had several methods. Dilug, Dillug: Skipping, free association of ideas using any among several standard methods of letter manipulation. This can be done with simple letter permutation, ciphers, gematria. When working within the same system (such as gematria), one is "skipping." But if several methods are used, it is called "jumping." Both used by Abulafia and Albotini with Kefitzah "jumping" Each of these meditative techniques lead to a high level of enlightenment.[36] Abulafia says one must completely alter nature and personality and transpose oneself from the state of feeling to intellect, from the path of imagination to one of burning fire. Otherwise, he will find his visions altered, through processes demolished, and reveries confounded. The sphere is what refines and tests regarding the Scripture which states “A refinery (metzeruf) is for silver...”

[37]Dilug, Dillug: Skipping free association of ideas using any among several standard methods of letter manipulation. This can be done with simple letter permutation, ciphers, gematria. When working within the same system (such as gematria), one is "skipping." But if several methods are used, it is called "jumping."

Both methods are used by Abulafia and Albotini with Kefitzah "jumping." Each of these meditative techniques lead to a high level of enlightenment.

The Best Times to Permutate Letters

The best hour to permutate the letters is at midnight wrapped in a prayer shawl and phylacteries, surrounded by candles.

Start writing the sacred letters. Gather speed as you permutate them. You will begin to feel a warm, glowing sensation at the heart. This is the sign of the descending “shefa” or the “divine influx”. Singing certain names according to the prescribed melodies will attain ecstasy with some sensations of air, heat, rushing water, or oil, as described by Merkabah mystics.[38]

A Method

Begin the contemplation by focusing on the crown of the head or the “Beginning of the Beginning.” Then, move down to the middle of the face, or the “Middle of the Beginning” and finish the segment by concentrating on the back of the head or the “End of the Beginning”. Similarly, the top most point of the heart, the center point of the hear and the back point of the heart; so on downward through the abdomen, and the base of the spine.”

The 24 triplets of the 72 Names of Gd

This is an excerpt from "Chayay Olam HaBah" "Life of the Future World"[39]

This book specifically describes the use of the Name of the 72. The main method involves the same head motions and controlled breathing as in "Or HaSekhel"

The Name had been known from ancient times. By the 11th c. it was popularized by Rashi's commentaries and in a late Midrash.

The Name is derived from the three verses of Exodus 14:19-21, with exactly 72 letters. The process for constructing the Name is outlined in the Bahir.

...Then take in your hand a tablet and some in. These will serve as your witnesses that your are coming to serve Gd with joy and good heart.

Then begin to permutate a number of letters. You may only use a few, or you may used many. Transpose and permutate them quickly, until your heart is warmed as a result of these permutations, their motions, and what is derived from the permutations.

As a result of these permutations, your heart will become extremely warm. From the permutations, you will gain new knowledge that you never learned from human traditions nor derived from intellectual analysis.

When you experience this, you are prepared to receive the influx (shefa) Clear your mind completely.

Then, with complete concentration and a proper, pleasant, sweet melody, pronounce the Name [of the 72]. Using the natural vowels of each letter [begin by pronouncing these first 6 triplets]:

     VaHeVa YoLaYo SaYoTe

     EaLaMe MeHeShiLaLaHe

These 6 triplets of the Holy Name pronounced with 18 breaths.

If the Divine Influx does not force you to stop, continue pronouncing the Name in this manner until you reach the triplet MVM [the last of the 72].

We have a tradition that the divine influx will come to a perfected  individual after he completes [the number of letters in the first verse, that is, after he pronounces 24 triplets. (This is alluded to in the word "my Beloved" Dodi (=24). It is thus written, "The sound of my Beloved (Dodi) is knocking." (Song of Songs, 5.2)

You may see the image of a child (Naar=320) or that of a Sheik (=320). In Arabic, the word "sheik" means "elder."

"The [place of the] beginning of the real prophesy is in the inner intellectual faculty which is created by the heart through the agency of 70 languages, by the 22 sacred letters, all of them being combined in the heart, in virtue, by the process of combinations of letters done by the intellectual faculty, and in actual by intellectus agencies, which is divine, religious and prophetic. And from the [inner intellectual faculty] there will be an emanation on the imaginary faculty and from the imaginary

[faculty] [the emanation will pour upon] the appentitive [faculty] and from the appentitive [faculty] on the sensitive [faculty] and from the sensitive faculty on the designative [faculty] which is designated on the book. And it [the prophesying emanation] [ will also tun to the inverse direction and will reach a high status. It will separate from the designated [status] [and will turn] to the sensitive [faculty] and from the sensitive to the appetitive and from it to the imaginative and from it to the inner rational cogitative [and] designative [faculty] and from it to the prephetic [faculty] and from it to the [intellectus] agens and will unite with it after many hard, strong and mighty exercises, until the particular and personal prophetic [faculty] will turn universal, permanent and everlasting like the essence of its cause, and he and he will become one entity."[40]

2nd verse of the triplets[41]

NuThaHe HeAhaAh YoRehTa.

SheeAhHe Ray yo yo ah vahmeh

3rd verse:

Vah Heh vah dahnuyo heh che shee.

Aymaymay NuNuAh NuYoTah



Special Cherubim, 1200-1250

During this period in Northern France, the circle of the Special Cherubim engaged in lengthy discussions on creating golems.

The difference between these French techniques and of Ashkenazi are: they both use combinations of Hebrew letters; recite letters with moving in a circle around molded dust; and the golem is destroyed by reciting the original combination backwards and circling in opposite direction.[42]


Ashkenazi Qabalists,1400

“And all the host of heaven was standing by Him on His right and on His left." What power was in them that they were able to bring them down? They would not have been able to bring them down but for Uzza, Azza, and Azziel, who taught them sorceries whereby they brought them

down and made use of them,"

from R. Yehudah he-Hasid, one of founding fathers of Ashkenazi Hasidism. [43]


A technique of possible Ashkenazi source was preserved by R. Abraham Galante. Abraham;, a 16th century Safedian Kabalist, a disciple of R. Moses Cordovero. His views were quoted by R. Abraham Azulai. Abraham; in his commentary on the Zohar, “‘Or ha-Hana”:

The creation of all the worlds was [accomplished] by the 22 letters, and so also the creation of man by the 22 letters. The father, when he engenders his son, engraves the 22 letters which his father engraved in him...at the time of his [own] engendering. By the virtue of these 22 letters the foetus emerges and develops. Likewise the existence of the creature created by the ancients, as it is indicated in the Gamara that R. Hoshayah 

created a man, and similar things,

[these] were by means of the 22 letters.

And they were doing it in the following way:

They took new dust, which was not wrought,

and spread it on the earth in

a homogeneous way [besgaveh].

Then they engraved in this dust the lame of the thing they wanted to create, and with each and every letter they were combining all the alphabets. How [was it done]? [In the case of the creation of] a  [‘Adam] they were combining the letter ‘A with all the alphabets, then the letter D with all the alphabets and likewise with the letter M with all the alphabets,

all this together with other conditions

that they were doing.

Then that thing was created.

And if they wanted to wipe it our

and destroy it structure (binyano),

they were turned the alphabets backwards,

together with the letters

of that thing they had created,

and it was wiped out by itself.

This is the reason that when [the creature] came in the presence of R. Hanina, he turned the letters as mentioned above, this being [the meaning] of his saying to him “Return to your dust...” Since all the combinations which are backwards are pointing to [strict] judgement and destruction.”

R. Abraham Azulai[44]


By writing the names on the earth and pronouncing the letters of alphabets, this implies a creative power inherent in the letters, especially in combination with letters which make up the name of a particular thing in Hebrew. This assumption is found in the writings of Galante, R. Joseph Ashkenazi, the Tanna of Safed[45];.

R. Joseph discusses in an attack against philosophical and Kabbalistic philosophy literature in the Middle Ages by discussing the relationship between the calling of the names of all being by Adam and the animation of the being after the names were pronounced. 

There is a relationship between the expression of the name and the lower soul, nefesh hayyah (mentioned in the Bible) and the higher soul (nishmat hayyim,[46]).

His views are probably Ashkenazi source. He composed the text below while in N. Italy before his emigration to Safed.  He continues:

A man can make a  golem which possess a living soul [nefesh hayyah] by the power of his speech, but the [higher] soul [neshamah]

cannot be conferred by man because

it is from the divine speech.

Behold, [you can] understand the issue of the [higher[ souls [neshamot] 

which are in the body [guf][47],

hewn from the throne of glory[48], which are but their names [shemotam, their names, [a pun on nishmotam], (their souls), which are [identical to] their [higher ] souls.

R. Joseph Ashkenazi, N. Italy[49].



All words arising from the combinations of the letters are combined and permuted with the Tetragrammaton, “Sefer Yezirah,” One Name, from which the whole of creation and all of language emanates. The letters of the Tetragrammaton are said to the be vowels of the alphabet.

The Kabbalistic concept that the letters HWY are the souls of other letters is found in the 12th century and it was widespread among members of the circle of the Special Cherubim, esp. R. Elhanan ben Yaker. Elahana;.[50]

According to the author, Gd blew the spirit of life into the man using the letters.

The 2 stages of the golem creation

1: by combining of the regular letters of the alphabet and;

2: by the combination of the letters of the Divine Name) may reflect:

1. the formation of the limbs or their animation,

2. and, the infusing of the soul in the golem.

The terms hiyyut and neshamah may refer to these 2 different stages.[51]


"All the creatures were made from the 22 letters and their combinations and their permutations and as fire by nature warms, the water cools so do the letters by their nature create all sorts of creatures...

R. Yehudah Albotini,

early 16th c. Kabalist in Jerusalem


The other prophets and pious men in each generation, by means of the combination and permutation of letters and their movement, used to perform miracles and wonders and turn about the order of Creation such as we find it explained in out Talmud that Rava created a man and sent him to R. Zera.[52].

The letters represent the body (Assiyah),The vowels are the Nefesh (soul) (Beriah). Through the proper combination of the letters and vowels, one can enter into spiritual domain[53].


RQM— To Form

The Hebrew verb RQM njr (to form) which appears just before the noun golem occurs; "earth' is mentioned as the site of the creation, immediately before the mention of the golem as a creature emerging from the dust, just as Adam does in Genesis.

The Biblical verse uses the verb RQM (to form) as 'SH (to malre) as does "Leviticus Rabba", later on.

The pertinent actions occurring in "Leviticus Rabba" are: the collection of dust, the kneading, and the making of this entity into a golem.[54].

The Midrash describes the creation of Adam  out of dust and water. Only in the "Sefer Yezirah" does the linguistic technique of creation by letter combination occurs.

The linguistic technique became the medieval sources basic device to create a golem. The detailed techniques were finally written in the 13th century.

The 2 common elements include:

• the material employed to create the golem is dust, eventually kneaded with water;

• and the pronunciation of the combination of letters over the shaped body in order to animate it.




is most common form where first letter is substituted for the last letter of the alphabet, the second for the penultimate, etc.


ALBAM is a similar form of substitution, where the first letter is replaced by the twelth, the second by the thirteenth, etc.

AVGAD is a form where each letter is replaced by the one succedding it so that a=b, b=c, etc.


AQ BEKER; The Qabalah of 9 Chambers

Interception of 2 horizontal and 2 verticle lines forming 9 squares. Used for Kamea's to determine the number value of the sigils.

Divide alphabet (22 letters and final forms) into three groups, each with 9 letters.

This arrangement is considered important in the formation of Sigils or Symbols from the names of planetary Spirits.

1st group of 9 represents 1-9, and the divisions of the world ruled by the order of ANGELS.

2nd 9 represents numbers 10-90 and all the things which are in the 9 cirlce of HEAVEN.

3rd 9 contained the 4 last letters of the alphabet and final forms of K, M, N, P, & S, represent no. 100-400 and 4 elements of Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and the 5 final forms symbolizing the 5 unions of bodies.

(from the Aleph, the lines which enclose the groups of 3 letters the 9 follow figures constructed to form a powerful amulet. (Kamea of Alphabet, Budge, A. Amulets", p. 405


AQ Beker

where any letter in any one of 9 boxes can be substituted for any other letter in the same box. AChS BChR s where 8 boxes are used and letters in any box are interchangeable. Endless variety.



GAMATRIA, Gematria, GMATRIA;  each letter is given a numerical value and other words with same value are equivalent of the originals. Metatron=Shaddai=314

Gematria  (fr. Gk); is one of the  aggadic hermeneutical rules for

Interpretation of prayer (Torah, in the "Baraita  of 32 Rules, no.. 29 which links words and phrases of the liturgy with names from the Merkabah tradition and angelology according to the numerical value of the letters of the alphabet for them in accordance with set system

Whereas the word is normally employed  in the sense of manipulation acc. to no. value, it is sometime found with the meaning of 'CALCULATIONS'   (Avot 3:18).(Talmud) Joseph b. Zakkai knew "the heavenly revolutions and gemariot.";parallel source is "the heavenly revolutions and calculations" (Suk. 28a; BB134a;  Ch. Albeck, "Shisha Sidrei Mishnah 4, 1959 p. 497)

Perhaps formed in Babylon. First appeared inscription of SARGON II (727-707BC) which states that the king built wall of Khorsabd 16,283 cubits long to corr. w/no. value of his name.

End of the Geonic period (7-11thc)Widespread in Hellinistic period  among the Magi and interpreters of dreams Gnostics  equated 2 holy names ABAZAS and MITHRAS on basis of equiv. no. value(365 corr. to days of solar year)

Apparently introduced in Israel during 2nd Temple, even in the Temple itself, Greek letters being used to indicate numbers (Shek. 3:2).

In Rabinnic literature first appears in statements by TANNAIM of 2nd c..* (Scholem, Kabal. 337)

 Italy (9th c before Megaillat Anim'az by Ahimaz of Oria mysticism spread from Italy to Germany then France (beg. 11th c peaked half 12c and 13th c.

12th c. known as HASIDEI ASHKENAZ says mysteries transmited 870 to R. Moses ben Kalonymus in Lucca by Abu  AHARON, son of

R. Samuel ha-Nasi of Bagdad, afterwards K. went to Germany where he laid the foundation of mystical tradition of Hasidei Ash.


TMIRH Temurah, Form of cryptic writing which substitutions are made for letters according to one code or another.



“Jewish Mysticism,” Abelson, p. 100

“Kabbalah, The Way of the Jewish Mystic” by Pearle Epstein. Pages 73-81 The path of the Letters, Tzruf, permutation, Shefa,  Abulafia,


[1] “Kabalah, the Way of Jewish Mystic,” p.

[2] Pr. 30:5; Madregot: levels from “Oztar Eden Ha Ganuz,” p. 84 ;“Meditation & Kabalah, ” p.

[3] Pr. 17:3, p. 323

[4]  Idel, “Golem,” p.75

[5] Ex 31.3, T.B. Berachoth 55a

[6] Pr. 3.19

[7] Pr. 3.19

[8] Genesis 12:5


[9] Exodus 31.3

[10] ’Altah, it literally means "when he succeeded," she/the ‘atarah emerged or ascended.

[11] ’Altah, it literally means "when he succeeded," she/the ‘atarah emerged or ascended.

[12] R. Joseph ben Shalom Ashkenazi, “Commentary on Sefer Yezirah” fol. 60a; from Idel, “Golem” p. 139, 155-6

[13]  “Commentary on Sefer Yetzirah” Cordovero;  Ms. Jerusalem, National and University Library, 8, 2646, fol 42a. Idel, “Golem,” p. 198, 202.

[14] Sanhedrin 65b

[15] del, “Golem” p. 58

[16]  Genesis 12:1-3

[17] Ezekiel. 1:14.

[18] Daniel, 8.13

[19] "Perush Sefer Yetzirah"

[20] p. 19.

[21] p. 27.



[24]  Idel, "New Kabbalah," p. 98; MS Cambridge, Add. 643, fol. 19a; MS Oxford 1547, fol 34b; MS Vatican 431, fol 39.

[25] MS Munich, 81, Fol 127b

[26] MS Munich, 81, Fol 127b

[27] 1888, 15a

[28]  "Emek ha-Melek" Amsterdam, 1648, 10 c-d trans;. Knorr von Rosenroth. "Kabalah denuclata II" Liber Sohar Restitutus, Sulzbach, 1684, p. 220-1.

[29]  in MS British Museum 737, Munich 81 etc, 1st part included in "Sefer Raziel" (Amsterdam. 1701) f 7b24a .

[30] "Language, " Abulafia, p 10

[31] "Sefer Yezirah," Chapt. 2:6

[32] Abulafia, MS Munich 285f, 75b

[33] i.“Kabbalah, the Way of Jewish Mystic", p. 76

[34] late 13th or early 14th century kabalistic text “Gates (of the Old Man)”, ”She’arim” .Ms. Oxford 2396, fol. 53b;, mentioned by Schole, Idel, “Golem”, p. 111-112, 118

[35] late 13th or early 14th century kabalistic text “Gates (of the Old Man)”, ”She’arim” .Ms. Oxford 2396, fol. 53b;, mentioned by Schole, Idel, “Golem”, p. 111-112, 118

[36] i.“Kabbalah, the Way of Jew. Mystic," p. 77

[37] “Otzar Eden ha Gonuz, from “Meditation & Kabalah," p. 81

[38] “Kabalah, the Way of Jew. Mystic," p. 96. See also Raavid on “Sefer Yetzirah” 6.4, cf. “Ozar Eden HaGanuz” 26b, “Sef. HaCheshek” 31b. Abulafia discusses the concept of tzeruf in detail in “Or HaShekel”, p. 89.

[39] "Kabalah & Meditation, p. 96 .

[40] "Studies in Esoteric Kabalah," p. 6

[41] "Meditation & Kabalah," p. 99. 

[42] “Golem” p. 12

[43] ”Hebrew Enoch”, 1973, Odeberg, pp. 15-16.

[44]  “‘Or ha-Hamah” (Premyzlany, 1886), vol. 1, fol 62d.from Idel, “Golem,” p. 69-70, 79

[45]  Idel, “Golem,” p. 70

[46]  Genesis 2:7

[47] see TB, Yebamot, fol. 62a; R. Eleazar of Worms, “Hokhmat ha-Nefesh,” fols. 2c, 7c.

[48] see Enoch, chapt. 41

[50] Dan, Joseph “Commentary on Sefer Yezirah,” p. 36-37..

[51]  "Golem!" p. 122

[52]  “Sefer Sullan ha-'Alyah”, p. 165, printed by G. Scholem in Kiriat Sefer, vol. 22 (1945), p.165, and translated and discussed in Idel, "Mystical Experience," p. 37.

[53]                 p.115.

[54] "Golem!," pp. 19-20.


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