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Beginner Level Kabbalah: The Ten Sefirot: Keter (Crown)

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keter
crown
binah
understanding

chochmah
wisdom
daat
knowledge

gevurah
might

chesed
loving-kindness
tiferet
beauty

hod
acknowledgment

netzach
victory
yesod
foundation
malchut
kingdom

Keter, or Crown, is the first of the ten sefirot and corresponds to the superconscious realm of experience.
Thus, the image of a crown, which suggests an aura surrounding ones consciousness.
In the configuration of the sefirot, keter appears at the top of the middle axis.
The Zohar states: the supernal crown [keter elyon] is the crown of kingdom [keter malchut]. The first,
highest of the Divine emanationsketeris thus linked to the lastmalchut (kingdom).
The gematria of keter ( )is 620. This is the full number of Gods commandments to Israel, the
613 mitzvot of the written Torah together with the 7 mitzvot of the Oral Torah. The Torah text of the Ten
Commandments possesses 620 letters, for all of the 620 mitzvot are included in the Ten
Commandments. In Kabbalah, the secret of the 620 commandments is that from keter (=620) are
projected 620 pillars of light which serve to connect the ceiling of keter to the floor of malchut. These
pillars of light encompass the souls of Israel that devotedly fulfill the will (keter) of the King of Kings
(malchut).
The sefirah of keter develops into two partzufim (personas). Its external partzuf, referred to as Arich
Anpin (the Elongated Face), corresponds to the superconscious power of ratzon (will) in the soul. Its
inner partzuf, referred to asAtik Yomin (the Ancient of Days), corresponds to the corresponding power
of taanug (pleasure) in the soul.
The seven lower sefirot of Atik Yomin are enclothed within the partzuf of Arich Anpin, (thus introducing
pleasure as a primary motivational force driving the will). The three upper sefirot of Atik Yomin, which are
not enclothed withinArich Anpin, represent the unadulterated superconscious pleasure of emunah (faith)
deriving from the experience of ones essential rootedness within Divinity.

Hence, Kabbalah speaks of the three Reishin (heads) of keter, referred to by the Zohar (III, 288a) and
the Arizal as:
o

Reisha dArich (the elongated head), corresponding to the force of ratzon;

Reisha dAyin (the head of nothingness), corresponding to the force of taanug; and

Reisha dlo Ityada (the unknowable head), corresponding to the force of emunah.

These three heads of keter correspond to the three meanings of the word keter in Hebrew. In addition to
meaning crown, the root keter means both to wait and to surround.
The meaning to wait corresponds to the unknowable head of keter, for we wait, in perfect faith, for that
level of Gods essential Divinity, absolutely hidden and concealed from the consciousness of this world,
to become revealed in the consciousness of the world to come.
The meaning crown corresponds, in particular, to the head of nothingness, the source of Divine
pleasure in the soul. The crown symbolizes the spiritual power to receive and integrate into ones
consciousness the pleasure of Divine revelation, as our sages express with regard to the world to come:
the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and receive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine
Presence (Tractate Kalah Rabati 2:3).
The meaning to surround corresponds to the elongated head, the level of supernal will. The power of
will surrounds all of the conscious powers of the soul (corresponding to the Divine emanations
from chochmah to malchut). It forces them to manifest themselves in accord with its directions.

Three Reishin

Force

Meanings of keter

Reflects Gods

Reisha dlo Ityada

Emunah

to wait

God is all. All is God

Reisha dAyin

Taanug

crown

Omnipresence

Reisha dArich

Ratzon

to surround

Omnipotence

The power of will, the elongated head of keter, reflects Gods omnipotence. Likewise, the Divine state of
pleasure, the head of nothingness of keter, reflects Gods omnipresence (the radiance of the Divine
Presence). Perfect faith, the unknowable head of keter, reflects the absolute truth that God is all, all is
God.