Sefer Yetzirah

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Title Page of the Sefer Yetzirah. Mantua, Italy, 1562.

Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew: סֵפֶר יְצִירָה), also known as the Book of Formation or the Book of Creation, is a book on Jewish mysticism. The book is assumed to have been written by Rabbi Akiva, although modern scholars have not reached consensus on the question of its origins.


  • בשלשים ושתים נתיבות פליאות חכמה חקק יה יהוה צבאות אלהי ישראל אלהים חיים ומלך עולם אל שדי רחום וחנון רם ונשא שוכן עד מרום וקדוש שמו וברא את עולמו בשלשה ספרים בספר וספר וספור׃
    • Sefer Yetzirah 1:1
    • Translation:
      • Yah, the Lord of hosts, the living God, King of the Universe, Omnipotent, All-Kind and Merciful, Supreme and Extolled, who is Eternal, Sublime and Most-Holy, ordained (formed) and created the Universe in thirty-two mysterious paths of wisdom by three Sepharim, namely: 1) S'for סְפָר‎; 2) Sippur סִפּוּר‎; and 3) Sapher סֵפֶר which are in Him one and the same.
      • By thirty-two mysterious paths of wisdom Yah has engraved [all things], [who is] the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, the living God, the Almighty God, He that is uplifted and exalted, He that Dwells forever, and whose Name is holy; having created His world by three [derivatives] of [the Hebrew root-word] sefar : namely, sefer (a book), sefor (a count) and sippur (a story).
        • Yosef Qafih:"Sefer Yetzirah Hashalem (with Rabbi Saadia Gaon's Commentary)", p. 35. The Committee for Publishing the Books of Rabbi Saadia Gaon. Jerusalem, 1972.
  • (חמש שלש אותיות מן הפשוטות חתם רום ברר שלש וקבען בשמו הגדול יה״ו. וחתם בהם שש קצוות) [הנוסחא הנכונה: בירר ג׳ אותיות מן הפשוטות בסוד ג׳ אמות אמ״ש וקבען בשמו הגדול וחתם בהם ו׳ קצוות, חמש חתם רום] ופנה למעלה וחתמו ביה״ו. שש חתם תחת ופנה למטה וחתמו ביו״ה. שבע חתם מזרח ופנה לפניו וחתמו בהי״ו. שמנה חתם מערב ופנה לאחריו וחתמו בהו״י. תשע חתם דרום ופנה לימינו וחתמו בוי״ה. עשר חתם צפון ופנה לשמאלו וחתמו בוה״י׃
    • Sefer Yetzirah 1:13
    • Translations:
      • He selected three consonants from the simple ones which are in the hidden secret of three mothers or first elements: א״מ״ש air, water and ether or fire. He sealed them with spirit and fastened them to His great name and sealed with it six dimensions. He sealed the height and turned towards above, and sealed it with יהו. He sealed the depth, turned towards below and sealed it with יהו. He sealed the east and turned forward, and sealed it with היו. He sealed the west and turned backward, and sealed it with הוי. He sealed the south and turned to the right and sealed it with ויה. He sealed the north and turned to the left and sealed it with והי.
      • He selected three letters from among the simple ones and sealed them and formed them into a Great Name, IHV, and with this He sealed the universe in six directions. He looked above, and sealed the Height with IHV. He looked below and sealed the Depth with IVH. He looked forward, and sealed the East with HIV. He looked backward, and sealed the West with HVI. He looked to the right, and sealed the South with VIH. He looked to the left, and sealed the North with VHI.
        • Westcott translation (New York: Weiser, 1980)
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