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Is there any source for the Ten Sefirot in the Bible or in Midrash?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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There is no explicit reference to the sefirot in the Bible. However, the names of the sefirot do appear in the Torah but not all together. The names of the first three sefirot are mentioned in Exodus 31:3 in reference to the capacities of Betzalel. It is also mentioned in Proverbs 2:6 and 3:19-20.

In Chronicles I 29:11 we find reference to the seven other sefirot, though not all of them are mentioned explicitly. This passage is read in the morning prayers in the prayer that begins with “And David blessed.”

They are also referred to in the Midrash Rabbah (Numbers 14:24) in its comment on the significance of the spoon that weighed 10 gold shekel that was donated by the princes of the tribes. The Midrash says that the number 10 corresponds to the 10 utterances with which the world was created and to the 10 sefirot.

They are also mentioned in Kuzari, which is generally not a Kabbalistic work.

TAGS: Ten Sefirot

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kabbalistic
(adj.) Pertaining to Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Proverbs
One of the 24 books of the Bible. A collection of moral writings authored by King Solomon.
Chronicles
The final book of the Bible. This book summarizes the events described in the first 23 books of the Bible, from Creation until the destruction of the 1st Temple.
shekel
(pl. Shekalim) Currency used in ancient Israel. [Modern Israeli currency also carries the same name.]
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.