The language of mysteries

Soon we will disclose one of the mysteries of the main books on practical Kabbalah, “Sepher Yetzirah” (“Book of Creation”). But first I need to say a few words about “Sepher Yetzirah” itself.

From the very beginning it is important to emphasize that “Sepher Yetzirah” describes not abstract concepts, but objectively existing laws in the world. Rabbi Yehuda ha-Levi writes in his book, “Kuzari:”

Al Khazari: I ask thee now to give me an explanation of the relics of the natural science which thou hast stated existed among you.
The Rabbi: To this belongs the ‘Book of Creation’ by the Patriarch Avraham. Its contents are very profound, and require thorough explanation.” (4:24–25).

Indeed, if we compare a mathematics textbook to the “Sepher Yetzirah,” it can be compared not with the book itself, but with a few pages at the end, which lists all of the formulas used in the book. This is the reason for such long comments because their authors are trying to restore a textbook, which has been never written before, with the formulas.

The comparison to mathematics is not accidental. It's already said in the first Mishna of “Sepher Yetzirah,” "...and He has created His universe by three Sefarim: Sēfer (writing, a text, a book), and S'fār (counting, measuring), and Sippūr (speech, narration).” And if everything in the world was created by these three sefarim, so everything can be also described by them. Below is what “Kuzari” book says about S'fār. “As to S'fār it means the calculation and weighing of the created bodies. The calculation which is required for the harmonious and advantageous arrangement of a body is based on a numerical figure.” (4:25). Simply speaking, the forms and ratios of all the “bodies,” the “weighing,” and also the proportion of movements and the structure of music can be described by means of mathematics (reading these lines, please consider the age of this text).

While S'fār describes external and internal structure, Sēfer and Sippūr are used to describe deeper phenomena, namely, the inner essence of creations. “‘And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof’ (Genesis 2:19). This means that it deserved such name which fit and characterized it. This shows the excellence of the ‘holy tongue’... The shapes of the letters are not the result of accident, but of a device which is in harmony with the character of each letter. Thou shouldst not, now, deem it impossible that names and combinations of letters, whether spoken or written, have certain effects” (Kuzari 4:25). Let's analyse this quotation from the beginning. Does it really matter that much for us, what name Adam gave to one or another animal? The key to understanding this is the previous sentence of the Torah. “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them” (Genesis 2:19). The sense of this is that God created animate beings with various combinations of sounds-letters, and then brought them to Adam to check how precisely can he recognize the Divine code by which every creature is created. Adam passed this test perfectly, and not without reason is it said, “And whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” I'll give one example as an illustration. Dog in Hebrew is “kelev,” a word, which, separated into syllables, can be read as “ke” (“as”) and “lev” (“heart”), i.e. the inner essence of a dog is sensitiveness to emotions. It is clear that this description of a dog differs from a possible description while using the S'fār method. It is also obvious that we are unable to bring into being a living creature by simply writing or uttering the word “kelev“, because the letters of the alphabet that we use are only schematic reflections of the letters (i.e. spiritual strengths) by which everything is created. “The book further states with regard to God that He created His world with three Sefīrāh factors: S’fār, Sippūr, and Sēfer. In God's nature they are all one, but this one forms the beginning of the ‘thirty-two miraculous and mysterious ways of the divine wisdom,’ composed of the ten Sefirōth and the twenty-two letters” (Kuzari 4:25).