planet of quadrinaria

Come visit the beautiful planet of Quadrinaria, and explore the wonders of the planet while you help your friends, the Quadrinarians, find the precious words that have disappeared from their vocabulary. Along the way you will discover new and interesting places while expanding your own vocabulary. So hop aboard, and discover new words and their meanings as you travel with your new friends, the Quadrinarians.

david quadrinity

'Quadrinarian' proof that David is equally God 


First, David is equally Christ with Jesus himself: Luke 9:20 tells us that Peter declared Jesus to be "The Christ [christon] of God." But 2 Samuel 23:1 also declares David to be "The Christ [christon in the Septuagint] of God"! Yes, Jesus and David are the one "Christ of God." Since the Christ is also God, as trinitarians know, then David, too, is God!


Second, God Himself calls Jesus "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - Matt. 12:18; cf. Acts 3:13, RSV. He also calls David "My Servant" [literally "the servant of me"] - 2 Kings 19:34; Ps. 89:3. The person God calls "My Servant" is well-known to Bible scholars as The Messiah ("Christ" in the Greek translations),e.g., Is. 53:11 - see New Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.), p. 1093, Tyndale House Publ . Therefore David is equally Christ (and, therefore, also equally God). 


Third, David claims the exclusive title of Christ (and God) by declaring himself to be the great "I Am" [Ego Eimi] at 2 Kings 15:26, Septuagint (2 Sam.15:26 in English Bibles) which when translated literally says: "Behold! I AM." (idou Ego Eimi). This is the very same exclusive title of God, as trinitarians well know, that Jesus claimed for himself at John 8:58: "Before Abraham was born, I Am [Ego Eimi]." David is Christ and God! 


Fourth, David is actually addressed as Jehovah God! 


1 Sam. 20:12 actually, literally says in all the ancient Hebrew manuscripts: "Then Jonathan said to David: 'Jehovah God of Israel, I will certainly sound out my father....'" (Compare KJV and JPS). Most Bible translators who are not Quadrinarians actually add to the inspired word of God at this verse to make it say: "By the LORD God of Israel" (NIV) or "I promise you in the sight of the LORD the God of Israel" (NEB) or "Jehovah, the God of Israel, be witness" (ASV, cf. NASB, RSV). But these translations are distorting and actually adding to the inspired word of God which clearly calls David "Jehovah God"!


Fifth, In 2 Sam. 14:20-22 we find David called "My Lord" - the title for Jesus and Jehovah. (cf. Acts 2:34; Jn 20:28; Ps. 8:1). 


Sixth , also in this same highly significant passage David is being declared omniscient or all-knowing (which trinitarians well know is one of the exclusive, untransferrable qualities of God alone) - 2 Sam 14:20. 


Seventh, 1 Kings 1:43 - "Jonathan answered Adonijah, 'No, for our lord king David has made Solomon king.'" - NRSV.


2 Chronicles 1:8 - "And Solomon said to God, 'Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and hast made me king in his stead.'"


Eighth, and, again, to show the absolute equality of Jehovah God and King David we find David the King receiving equal worship with Jehovah God at 1 Chron. 29:20. Yes, the actual Hebrew of the original God-inspired scriptures says: "so the entire assembly praised Jehovah, the God of their fathers: they bowed low and worshiped [shachah] Jehovah AND THE KING." - cf. KJV. 


The word 'worshiped' (shachah) used here is exactly the same word as used at 2 Chron. 7:3 (see The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Zondervan, 1982). The praise of Jehovah included worship [shachah] of God and David! There is no separation of the two found here. They are inseparably bonded together in the very same expression of faith ("Jehovah and the king") and adoringly bathed in the same single united act of worship which recognizes and celebrates their one essence! 


We also find David being worshiped at 2 Sam. 14:22. The Israelite Joab (whose name means 'Jehovah is the Father') actually worshiped David. The word used in the ancient Hebrew scriptures is shachah - the very same word translated "worship" at 2 Sam. 12:20 and 15:32 - see Strong's Concordance. This is also the same word used at 1 Kings 1:31 where the inspired word of God tells us that Bathsheba also worshiped David! - see Strong's. 


Ninth, the King's throne in Israel was known as "the throne of Jehovah" - 1 Chron. 29:23. This very same throne was called (and continues to be called through the ages) "the throne of David." - Jer. 17:25. David is Jehovah God. Even at the end time when the Messiah sits down on Jehovah's throne, that very throne is called (not Jesus' throne, but) the throne of David! - Is. 9:7. The eternal throne of Jehovah is at the same time the eternal throne of David! David is Jehovah God. 


Tenth, another, similar proof is that "the Son of God," Jesus, is also called "the Son of David"! (Luke 4:41; 18:38) The one Father of Jesus has both the title "God" and the name "David"! David is God! 


Eleventh, we find 1 Chron. 29:29 literally saying that David is "THE FIRST AND THE LAST"! Strong's Concordance shows that the same Hebrew words used to identify Jehovah as the "First and Last" at Is. 44:6 are also used here to describe David. As trinitarians know, this is one of the prime identifiers for God (Is. 44:6) and also for Jesus as being equal to God (Rev. 1:17). So when we see David also called the "First and Last" (cf. Young's; LITV; KJV; NKJV; ASV; NAB; JPS 1917), we know absolutely that he is one of the Persons of the Holy Christhead and, therefore, also one of the Persons of the Holy Godhead! 


And, Twelfth, in a final and conclusive confirmation we have proof of a Quadrinity (Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and David):

godot quaternity again very popular book one of the few books we had to learn at my high school

With Godot (1953), we witness the abandonment of the trinity in favour of a quaternity, shaped by the two couples. Moreover, the four Beckettian characters form a quaternity inscribed in a circle, a quadratura circuli or mandala. According to Carl Jung, the quaternity is an archetype of universal occurrence, and is also a valid pattern in analytic psychology. As Jung explains in Psychology and Religion, the mandala is the ultimate reconciling symbol, it expresses completeness and union of the four elements or archetypes of the psyche, it unites the wholeness of the celestial circle and the squareness of the earth, God and man. Jung clarifies as follows the concept of quadratura circuli – the way from chaos to unity:


The squaring of the circle was a problem that greatly exercised medieval minds. It is a symbol of the opus alchymicum, since it breaks down the original chaotic unity into the four elements and then combines them again in a higher unity. Unity is represented by a circle, and the four elements by a square. The production of the one from four is the result of a process of distillation and sublimation, which takes the so-called ‘circular’ form: the distillate is subjected to sundry distillations so that the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ shall be extracted in its purest state. (Jung 1968, 124)

Mandalas are unconsciously summoned up in periods of crisis and have the therapeutic effect of re-establishing balance and order, of producing a new centre of personality. As Susan D. Brienza indicated, in a later mime, Quad (Quadrat, parts I and II, 1981-2), the four characters rhythmically draw mandala pictures that reveal concentric circles and include four quadrants. The dancers’ counter-clockwise pacing evokes Jung’s patient’s leftward movement, which is equivalent to a progress towards the unconscious. They desperately attempt to achieve “centering” and reinstate order and peace, to abolish the separation between the unconscious and the conscious mind. Jung regards the archetypal image of the mandala as depicting the centralizing process of individuation. The ritual diagram is not only used in Buddhism and Hinduism as an aid to contemplation but is also one of the oldest religious symbols of humanity.

THERE ARE FOUR FORMS OF SHIN (the pentagrammaton is the tetragrammaton with a shin added to it)

The letter shin actually has four different forms. There’s a shin with a dot above the right column,a shin with a dot above the left column, a shin with four columns instead of three, and finally a silent shin. When the dot is on the right, the shin emphasizes Chessed, the concept of kindness. When the dot is on the left, the shin (pronounced “sin”) emphasizes the aspect of judgment or severity. These two forms are illustrated by the words shaar and sei’ar. The shin of the word shaar (gate) has its point on the right, שׁער,as a gate allows people to pass in and out, an aspect of openness or chessed. This shin is full of energy, potential and benevolence.


"The time to put them [Tefillin] in the morning is at the time when one can see his close friend from four cubits away and recognize him."


The shin with four columns is found on the tefillin that is worn on the head. One side of the head tefillin has a shin with three lines and the other has one with four lines. In his personal notes7 the Rebbe offers two reasons for this. First, the four-lined shin is the shin of the Luchos, the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. The four lines represent the awesomeness and holiness of the engraving of G‑d’s word into physical stone. To visualize this, imagine the three lines of the shin etched into stone. If you focus on the stone that remains around the shin, there will be four columns. These are the four lines of this form of the shin. They are the wake, the reflected light of the Luchos.


The second of the Rebbe’s reasons is that the four-pronged shin represents the four mothers: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.


This leads us to the last interpretation of shin, shanah, which means “year.” A year contains four seasons. Fall is the time when one enters the business world following a month full of holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkos. Winter is a span of coldness and indifference. Spring embodies a period of rebirth and growth. It reminds us not to be complacent, but rather to constantly grow in G‑dliness and humanity. And the heat of summer arouses the body’s passions. Throughout every aspect of seasonal change, one must remain steadfast in one’s faith in G‑d. The four seasons are echoed in the four lines of the shin. The antidote for the challenges inherent in each of the four seasons is the four Matriarchs. Their love and consistency nurture our growth from one season to the next.


Rosh Hashanah is also connected to the letter shin. The Mish­nah tells us that there are three different Rosh Hashanahs. This is reflected in the shin’s three different lines—each represent­ing one of the three shanim, or heads of the year. There’s yet another opinion positing that there are four heads to the year.16 This is signified by the shin with four lines or heads.


Four Rosh HaShanahs

OU Staff

June 29, 2006

Although we are all familiar with the Rosh HaShanah, the “Head of the Year,” which occurs in the Fall, there are actually four Rosh HaShanah’s which define, to an extent, the Hebrew calendar. They are as follows:


There are four Shabbatot (Sabbath days) during the year which do not coincide with either a Festival, or Rosh Chodesh, or Chanukah, or Purim, but on which nevertheless, two Torah portions are read, and hence two Torah scrolls are taken out. And if one of these also coincides with Rosh Chodesh, three Torah scrolls are taken out for the reading of three portions.


During these four Shabbatot the regular portion of the week is read and seven persons are called to the Torah. The Maftir is taken from another portion and relates to the theme of the respective special Shabbat, as does the Prophetic portion. The portions read for Maftir during these Shabbatot are as follows:


On the first Shabbat; a passage from Ki Tissa, which contains the account of the obligatory half-shekel offering, is read. It is hence called: Parshat Shekalim (Shekel being the currency of the time and hence the currency of modern day Israel).

On the second Shabbat, the Maftir is taken from the end of Ki Tetze – ‘Remember what Amalek did to you,’ and it is called Parshat Zachor (Remember).

On the third Shabbat, the account of the ‘Red Heifer’ is read from Chukat, and it is called Parshat Parah (Heifer or Cow).

On the Fourth Shabbat, the Maftir is taken from Bo – ‘This month shall be to you the head of the months,’ and it is called Parshat HaChodesh.


The three meals of the Shabbat correspond to the three Patriarchs. According to kabbalah, the Patriarchs form three of the "wheels" of the merkavah, the Divine "Chariot," with King David serving as the fourth. Thus this post-Shabbat repast is devoted to David -- and his royal dynasty which will once again blossom with the coming of Moshiach.


The Four Mitzvot of Purim

Purim is celebrated on Tuesday, March 10 (beginning at sunset on March 9). Four mitzvot are associated with the holiday:


Megillah Reading - Book of Esther – The Megillah is read twice on Purim, once at night and once during the day. In order to properly fulfill the mitzvah of Megillah, it is necessary to hear every word during the reading. For this reason it is imperative that people not talk to each other during the Megillah reading.


Mishloach Manot/Shalach Manos - Sending Gifts – Every Jew is obligated to give at least one Mishloach Manot gift containing at least two different types of ready-to-eat food items.


Matanot La'evyonim - Gifts to the Poor – Giving to the poor is a mitzvah all year round. However, the mitzvah to do so on Purim is in addition to the general mitzvah of tzedakah (charity). To properly fulfill the mitzvah of Matanot La'evyonim one must give to two poor individuals. Although one may fulfill this mitzvah by giving a very minimal amount of money to each person, the sages noted that the highest form of fulfilling this mitzvah is by giving enough money for a meal, or the equivalent in food. This mitzvah may be fulfilled by donating beforehand to an organization that will distribute the money or food on Purim day.


Seudah - Festive Meal – One is obligated to partake in a festive meal on Purim day. The bare minimum to fulfill this mitzvah requires that one ritually wash (netillat yadayim), eat bread and then recite the Birkat Hamazon , the Grace after Meals.



The three heads of the shin of this world correspond to the three levels of the changeless, potential, and actual change as discussed above. In this world, the changeless is symbolized only by a black, dark coal, not as the revealed light of the flame. Nonetheless the endurance of the flame depends upon the changeless essence of the coal. In the World to Come, the changeless essence will reveal itself within the flame. This revelation of the future is the secret of the fourth head of the shin.


In the flame of a candle one sees three levels of light: the “dark light” around the wick of the candle, the white flame encompassing it, and an amorphous aura around the white flame itself. Each of these three levels of revealed light manifests a dimension contained within the invisible flame present in the coal. In general the flame symbolizes love, as is said: “as mighty as death is love…the flame of God.” The dark light corresponds to the love of Israel, souls enclothed within physical bodies. The white light corresponds to the love of Torah. The aura corresponds to the love of God. These are the three essential manifestations of love as taught by the Ba’al Shem Tov. The fourth head of the shin of the future – the revelation of the essence of the coal itself – corresponds to the love of the Land of Israel and, as our Sages teach: “the Land of Israel will in the future spread to incorporate all the lands of the earth.”


The 3 vavs represent the three Patriarchs; the 4 vavs, the Matriarchs.

The 3 vavs represent “Kohanim,” “Levites,” “Israelites”; the fourth, righteous converts.

THE FOUR COLUMN SHIN- QUATERNITY SYMBOLA relevant note on the calligraphy of the Hebrew letter shin: Jen Taylor Friedman, the hardest working sofer I know, explains that the leftmost head of the shin is usually a zayin “unless you’re writing ARI z”l script,” the other branches being made from a Yud and Vav. The Zohar describes the four-branched shin as being comprised of multiples of the letter Zayin. The crown over the left-most branch is my only visual cue to the branch being a zayin. The rules for crowning letters, recorded in Babylonian Tractate Menachot 29, places a crown on the Zayin. The shin is thus a crowned letter as it is composed with a zayin.


STAR TREK DID FOUR COLUMN SHINIt occurred to me that this same idea could suggest the Shefa Tal (see below), if you placed the four-branched shin upside down the gaps between the fingers of the two hands spread according to the tradition of the Birkat Kohanim.



A Midrash of the Jews of Yemen dating from the 13th century provides the following explanation for the mystery of the four-branched shin. There is one “head” for each of the following facets: cogitation, imagination, memory, and estimation.[1] Additionally, the midrash provides the following astrological explanation for the three and the four branched shin appearing together on the tefillin shel rosh: together their seven heads make up the seven visible wandering stars (i.e., the planets), whose celestial powers in Jewish cosmology must have one root in the mind of G!d.


When, exactly, the tradition of imprinting shins into either side of the tefillin shel rosh became a familiar and accepted motif on the tefillin remains a mystery to me. I’ve only been able to find a limited number of pictures of tefillin found in the Cairo Geniza and at Qumran, and none of these seem to show a four-branched shin.


Nevertheless, the mystery of the shin has inspired many creative and useful insights. One of my favorite is a mind-bending explanation is that the three letter shin fits inside the negative space of the four letter shin (if you imagine the three letter shin hanging upside down inside the four letter shin).


An illustration of the three and four-branched shin from Munk’s Wisdom of the Hebrew Letters (Mesorah 1983)

Shefa Tal, Hanau, 1612. Hebraic Section, Library of Congress.

The position of each hand in this image forms the Hebrew letter shin ( ש ), the first letter in en:Shaddai ( שדי ), the name of God that refers to Him as a protector. This is the root of the Vulcan greeting from en:Star Trek, used to convey security and prosperity.

Gershom Scholem mentions something incredible said by David Ḥabillo, a contemporary of Shabbetai Tzvi, concerning the four-branched shin. Ḥabillo identified two Satans, one being the “Satan of holiness” signified by the four headed shin. Writes Scholem, “Ḥabillo’s identification of the ‘fourth head of the shin’ with the ‘Satan of holiness’ provides an interesting illustration of C.G. Jung’s interpretation of the quaternity symbol. According to Jung, the fourth represents the Satan or an analogous entity, whereas three (or the Trinity) is an incomplete and one-sided symbol of divine wholeness.”[3] I think what Scholem is referring to here is an idea that Jung posited that the idea of the trinity was an expression of certain subsconscious aspects of the human psyche, but that this arrangement was incomplete without admitting an adversarial aspect into this grouping.


Which brings me back to the four mythic rivers that flow from Eden. The pattern drawn into the landscape by rivers are serpentine, and this extends from physical landscapes to mythical ones, and conceptual ones. I think the four rivers are metaphors for four different paths one can follow back into Eden, which is another way of saying, back into our cultural memory in myth through different mental states. Rivers form natural pathways, and they are one of humanities most ancient rapid transit systems. The entire symbol system associating snakes (leviathans, etc.), is to embody the metaphor of river systems as cognitive processes. The serpentine pattern carved into the landscape by rivers and tributaries is something I think is an important universal symbol for the creative power and beauty of Nature. Andy Goldsworthy, in his art (or shamanism masquerading as art) has also worked to share this insight. For a while now, I’ve associated the Leviathan in Jewish mythology with the creative unconscious, an underground river or aquifer which we always have access to, but need to cultivate an awareness of in order to access. I think Philip Glass articulates the idea very well in this short clip on the source of his compositions:


5) Ch. 28, v.10: "Sheim Hashem nikra" - The gemara M'nochos 35b and the medrash Shir Hashirim 7:6 (See also Targum Yonoson ben Uziel) say that this refers to the tefillin "she'b'rosh," literally IN one's head. We have an halacha l'Moshe miSinai that the exterior of the tefillin housing of the shel rosh has the letter shin on it. a) Why a "shin"? b) Why does one of the two "shinin" have four strokes and four heads rather than the normal three headed "shin"?




1) An allusion from our verse, the first letters of the words "SHeim-Hashem (yud)-Nikra" create "shin."


2) The shin is indicative of Hashem's name as the four letter name of Hashem, yud, kay, vov, kay equals 26, and their corresponding letters in the "atbash" transpermutation system is mem, tzaddi, pei, tzaddi which equal 300, the numerical value of the letter shin (Beis Yoseif on the Tur Orach Chaim #32 in the name of the R"i Askandrani).


1) The Tosfos in gemara M'nochos 35a, d.h. "Shin" says in the name of the Shimushoh Rabboh that the three-headed shin corresponds to the normal writing we find in a Torah. The four-headed shin corresponds to the way the shin looked in the luchos of the Ten Commandments. Since the script of the luchos was actually a lack of stone, as the letters were etched out, the physical part of each letter was its background. A circle drawn around a three-headed shin would loosely produce an inverted four-headed shin.


2) The Likutei Hagohos on the Tikun Tefillin #9 quotes a gemara (which we do not find) which says that Moshe asked Hashem the details of creating tefillin. Hashem said that the shel rosh requires a shin. Moshe asked how it appears, and Hashem (kav'yochol) showed Moshe four fingers. Moshe didn't know if the intention was a four-headed shin like the four fingers he was shown, or a three headed shin like the spaces between the four fingers, so he made both.


3) The Zohar interperets the words "shivasayim" (Tehillim 12:7) as seven times seven. He says that this refers to tefillin shel rosh. He explains that the shin is a composite of three zayins that are joined at their base. With a four-headed shin on one side and a three-headed shin on the other side, we have a total of seven zayins. Since the numeric value of zayin is seven, we have the fulfillment of "shivasayim," seven times seven.


7) He also says that the three-headed shin corresponds to our three Patriarchs and the four-headed one to our Matriarchs. Possibly, the three-headed shin is three zayins, as mentioned above from the Holy Zohar, equaling 21, the same value as the first letters of our "Ovos," A-Y-Y. Rebbi Y.T.L. Michelhoizen (a Rishon) says that the acronym of the four Matriarchs S-R-R-L equals 710, and shin-yud-nun twice equal 700, plus add 10 for the extra yud stroke in the four headed shin (to which the Matriachs correspond) and we also have 710.


8) He also says that the three-headed shin corresponds to the three days a week that we read the Torah, and the four headed one to the four days we don't. Incidentally the word tefillin is plural, referring to the rosh and the yad. The singular form is "tefilloh." The word tefillin in gematria equals "l'rosh u'l'yad."

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The Sephirot are often arranged vertically in four groups.1 Each of these groups is associated with one of the four heavens, previously mentioned in this study. The four heavens are further linked to the carrying out of the will of God, represented as "four worlds" of; calling (known as "emanation"), creating, forming and making.


These four worlds are found together in Isaiah 43:7:


Even every one that is called by My name; for I have created him for My Glory, I have formed him: yea I have made him.


These four levels of calling, creating, forming and making, recur throughout the Scriptures and throughout Kabbalah. A common arrangement of the Sephirot with regard to these "four worlds" is as follows:


Keter, which is so close to the Eyn Sof, and therefore unknowable, is considered distinct from and above the remaining nine. It is therefore not considered in the arrangement.

Chokmah is the highest possible Sephirah that can be contemplated. It is associated with the aspects of time (the past), of "Father" and the "Y" in Y-H-W-H.

Binah, is the "Mother" aspect and associated with the dimension of time (the future) and the first "H" in Y-H-V-H.

The next six Sephirot are grouped together and relate to the six directions of the space continuum and represent the concept of "relationship." Collectively, these six are called "Zer Anpin" (small face), and are associated with the "V," the Vav, which has a numeric value of six. Tipheret is considered central to this group and often represents Zer Anpin in itself.

Last is Malkut, the Sephirah most closely associated with God's presence on earth (the Shekinah). She is the bride and the last or small "H" in Y-H-V-H.


1. All of the Sephirot exist in each of the four worlds, however they are also said to have the particular relationships mentioned in this section. Also, the world of Azilut (Emanation) is said to be outside of the realm of time, and contains the other three worlds (Beriah, Yezirah and Asiyyah), as well as the purest essence of the Sephirot, "within itself."


2. Another arrangement of the Sephirot in four worlds is as follows:




Binah 4th heaven - "Y" (Yod)

(Azilut - world Emanation) Pure Will

Realm of Eyn Sof

Godly Unity



Tipheret 3rd heaven - "H" ("greater" Hay)

(Beriah - world Creation) Intellect/Thought

Realm of the Throne



Yesod 2nd heaven - "V" (Vav)

(Yezirah - world of Formation) Emotional/Speech

Realm of Angels

Malkut 1st heaven - "H" ("lesser" Hay)

(Asiyyah - world of Action) Physical/Actions

Realm of the Shekinah

and physical creation


The artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian founded the De Stijl movement, which they wanted to "establish a visual vocabulary comprised of elementary geometrical forms comprehensible by all and adaptable to any discipline".[125][126] Many of their artworks visibly consist of ruled squares and triangles, sometimes also with circles. De Stijl artists worked in painting, furniture, interior design and architecture.[125] After the breakup of De Stijl, Van Doesburg founded the Avant-garde Art Concret movement, describing his 1929–1930 Arithmetic Composition, a series of four black squares on the diagonal of a squared background, as "a structure that can be controlled, a definite surface without chance elements or individual caprice", yet "not lacking in spirit, not lacking the universal and not ... empty as there is everything which fits the internal rhythm". The art critic Gladys Fabre observes that two progressions are at work in the painting, namely the growing black squares and the alternating backgrounds.[127]


↑ 53.0 53.1 Ben-Ḥayyim (2000:45, 47–48) (while Ben-Hayyim notates four degrees of vowel length, he concedes that only his "fourth degree" has phonemic value)


The Chronicler refers to these priests as "descendants of Aaron."[2] In the biblical traditions upon which the Chronicler drew, Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.[3] However, Nadab and Abihu died before Aaron and only Eleazar and Ithamar had sons. In Chronicles, one priest, Zadok, from Eleazar's descendants and another priest, Ahimelech, from Ithamar's descendants, were designated by King David to help create the various priestly work groups.[4]


It would appear, then, that the author of Chronicles ascribed to David certain later arrangements of divine service, and that the priestly courses were actually not established until the Second Temple era. On the other hand, it may be argued that, although the list of courses in I Chronicles 24–26 reflects reality at the time of the author, the fact that priestly tasks were performed by established divisions serving in rotation indicates a historical tradition. Indeed, the theory that some sort of courses existed in the First Temple is supported by the parallel with the system of divisions in Egyptian temples, despite the generally dissimilar natures of the two priest-hoods. The four priestly families mentioned in the list of returnees in Ezra 2:36–39 may possibly have corresponded to the four priestly divisions of the First Temple, which also served in rotation. Comparison of the list of priests in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah and the list of the 24 priestly courses in Chronicles illustrates the relationship between all these lists, on the one hand, and the priority of the lists in the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah, on the other. The earliest among them is the list of four priestly families, mentioned in Ezra 2, from the time of the Return, which is based on the divisions in the First Temple. According to this list, the number of priests was already very large (4,289 men), and even the number of priests in one family was so great that they could not serve in the Temple simultaneously. An arrangement whereby the groups of priests would serve in rotation was necessary. The families were divided into clans, and the clans into courses (cf. rabbinic tradition: "four divisions returned from Exile – Jedaiah, Harim, Pashhur, and Immer; and the prophets in Jerusalem organized them into four-and-twenty divisions", Tosef., Ta'an. 2:1; TJ, Ta'an. 4:2, 67d, et al.). Perhaps to be included in the same framework is the account given by Josephus (Apion, 2: 108) concerning four priestly tribes that rotated service in the Temple at regular intervals. Indeed, there are those who would amend the text to read "twenty-four" in this place as well (cf. Jos., Life, 2; Jos., Ant., 7:366). A tradition concerning the gradual consolidation of the 24 priestly courses appear also in Tosefta, Ta'anit 4:2, and TJ, Ta'anit 4:2, 67d.


(3) Moses established 16 mishmarot, which were later increased to 24 (Ta'an. 27a). Relative unanimity of opinion is to be found only in the account of the restoration of the mishmar system after the Babylonian Exile. Four mishmarot are said to have returned from the Exile, Jedaiah, Harim, Pashchur, and Immer. "And the prophets among them [or "in Jerusalem", according to the Tosefta; i.e., Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi] arose and made 24 lots, and put them into an urn." Then each of the four mishmarot drew five lots in addition to his own, making a total of six. Finally, the rashei mishmarot divided them into battei avot (TJ, Ta'an. 4:4, 68a, et al.). It would seem (from tradition (2) above) that only at this stage were the Israelite ma'amadot introduced.


In the list of returnees in Ezra 2:36–39 (Neh. 7:39–41) – apparently a record of a general census after the rebuilding of the Temple – only four priestly clans are listed: the sons of Jedaiah (of the house of Jeshua), the sons of Immer, the sons of Pashhur, and the sons of Harim. They totaled 4,289, which was a tenth of the number of returnees. This is a complete record of all the priests as of that date, and they belonged to only four families or clans. Of these four clans, three – Jedaiah, Immer, and Harim – appear again in the list of the 24 divisions of the priesthood in I Chronicles 24:7ff. Again, a detailed list of priests (as representatives of clans) leads the list of 22 names of those who signed the covenant in Nehemiah 10:2–9. Eight of these – Immer (Amariah), Malchijah, Shebaniah (Shecaniah), Harim, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, and Bilgai (Bilgah) – recur in the list in I Chronicles 24. With minor differences, these names are the same as those of the priestly clans listed in Nehemiah 12:12–20, which is attributed to the time of Joiakim, the high priest and the father of the high priest Eliashib of the period of Nehemiah. Fifteen names in the latter list are identical with the names of the signers of the covenant, including the eight clans which figure in the list of divisions in Chronicles; and it includes two names which recur in the Chronicles list, including Jehoiarib (Joiarib), the division to which the Hasmoneans belonged. These two lists – of Nehemiah 10 and of Nehemiah 12 – also predate the list of 24 priestly divisions in the book of Chronicles.

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The Kohen raises his hands, with the palms facing downward and the thumbs of his outspread hands touching. The four fingers on each hand are customarily split into two sets of two fingers each (thus forming the letter Shin (שׁ), an emblem for Shaddai, "Almighty [God]"), or sometimes they are arranged to form an overlapping lattice of 'windows.' This Jewish ceremony is sometimes called Nesiat Kapayim, the "lifting of the hands." The Jewish tradition states the Divine Presence would shine through the fingers of the priests as they blessed the people, and no one was allowed to look at this out of respect for God.[28]


According to the Torah,[3] Aaron blessed the people after offering sacrifices,[4] and YHWH[5] promises that "I will place my name on their hands" (the Kohanim's hands) "and bless them"


The twelve tribes, in groups of three, were divinely situated at a certain distance around the tabernacle. Four of the tribes, Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan were recognized as tribal leaders. Each had its own standard or banner identifying it as a tribal head while the other tribes had ensigns, a lesser type of banner.


Camped just outside the tabernacle were the Levite tents. The Levites performed the priestly duties and therefore were mediators between God and the people. The tribe of Levi was divided into four families. Their tents were pitched between the tabernacle and the people, one family on each side. The Kohathites on the south numbering 8,600. The Gershonites on the west numbering 7,500. The Merarites on the north side numbering 6,200. On the eastern side were the tents of Moses, Aaron the high priest, and Aaron's sons the priests.


For example, consider the word "wisdom" or chokmah in Hebrew (remember that Hebrew script is read from right to left) :

hebrew chockmah wisdom gematria

It so happens that this Hebrew word, and these numbers will prove crucial to what follows. Numbers 37 and 73 should not be considered ordinary by any means.


While the term Shasu is used primarily for semi-nomadic Semitic herders who lived north of Egypt, it also has a secondary usage in some New Kingdom texts for the geographic areas where the Shasu lived. When used geographically in Egyptian texts, the hieroglyphic word t3 is used, and this word should be translated as “land of.” In the case of these two references that we are discussing, the Egyptian phrase is t3 sh3sw ya-h-wa, i.e. “the land of the Shasu of Yahweh.”

The topographical lists that are of most interest are the group of texts which read “t3 Sh3sw of X”, or “Land of the Shasu of X,” where X is normally a place. Astour observes that, contrary to what has been stated by some other scholars, Donald Redford being a good example, not all of the Shasu lands mentioned by Amenhotep III, and copied by Rameses II, were located in the general areas of Syria, Lebanon, Canaan, Sinai, and Trans-Jordan.10


Even though Egyptologists accept the appearance of the name Yahweh in the topographical lists at Soleb and Amarah-West, the implications of its appearance do not seem to have been fully appreciated by Old Testament scholars. Of course the question remains, who or what is being referred to by the word Yahweh? Is it a reference to the God of Israel? Or is it just a reference to a town or city like any of the other toponyms beginning with t3 sh3sw?


In other words, should the phrase t3 sh3sw ya-h-wa be translated as “the land of the nomads who worship the God Yahweh” or should it be translated as “the land of the nomads who live in the area of Yahweh.” The answer to this is not known with absolute certainty, but even if Yahweh is a place in these hieroglyphic texts, it was clearly place named after the god Yahweh of the Old Testament. Anything less seems too coincidental. But let us look at Astour’s proposed locations of the other t3 Sh3sw toponyms in these lists at Soleb and Amarah-West.


Astour correlates the Amarah list of Rameses II with the Soleb list of Amenhotep III. He also correlates both of these lists with a parallel, but partial, topographical list of Rameses III which is located in his great mortuary temple at Medinet Habu on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor.


Emphasis on the four-,twelve-,forty-two-,and seventy-two-letter names ofGod was a common feature of Christian treatments ofthe Kabbalah,already found in influential early worksby authors such as Pietro Galatino and Johannes Reuchlin.


Authors of Hebrew theological works begin their introductions generally with four words whose initial letters form the name Yhwh (e.g., ).


The following names and transcriptions of the names of God are found in rabbinical writings (the names mentioned in the Bible also are not given):



Petrus Alfonsi's Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram, which influenced Joachim of Fiore and the development of the Shield of the Trinity diagram.


Alphonsi "was probably the first to connect the 'ineffable' trinity with the 'ineffable' Tetragram".[13]


His famous Trinitarian "IEUE" interlaced-circles diagram was influenced by the different 3-circles Tetragrammaton-Trinity diagram of Petrus Alphonsi, and in turn led to the use of the Borromean rings as a symbol of the Christian Trinity (and possibly also influenced the development of the Shield of the Trinity diagram).[3]


God’s Name, Jehovah, in an Egyptian Temple

HOW early in history does the divine name, Jehovah, or Yahweh, appear in sources outside the Bible? Some scholars confidently answer: As early as the 14th century B.C.E. Why do they say that?


By about the year 1370 B.C.E., the Egyptians had conquered many lands. The Egyptian ruler of the time, Pharaoh Amenhotep (Amenophis) III, built a magnificent temple at Soleb, in Nubia, now known as Sudan. When archaeologists discovered that temple, they found an Egyptian hieroglyphic that appears to show the Hebrew Tetragrammaton—YHWH, or Jehovah. That engraving is older by 500 years than the famous Moabite Stone—previously the oldest known occurrence of God’s name. Why does the name of the God of the Bible seem to be engraved in an Egyptian temple?


“The Shasu Land of Jahu”


Pharaoh Amenhotep III dedicated the temple he built to the god Amun-Ra. The temple was about 400 feet [120 m] long and stood on the west bank of the Nile River. Hieroglyphics decorating the bases of columns in one of its halls list the names of territories that Amenhotep claimed to have subjugated. Each territory is represented by a prisoner, his hands tied behind his back and bearing a shield upon which the name of his land or people is inscribed. The lands of a number of the so-called Shasu, or Shosou, people figure among those hieroglyphics. Who were the Shasu people?


Shasu was the generic name that the Egyptians gave to the Bedouin, despised tribes who lived beyond the eastern border of Egypt. The lands of the Shasu covered southern Palestine, southern Transjordan, and Sinai. Some researchers say that the lands described as belonging to the Shasu extended as far north as Lebanon and Syria. The list of subjugated lands displayed at Soleb includes one that has variously been read “Yahwe in the Shosou land,” “The Shasu land of Jahu,” or “Land of the Shasu-yhw.” Egyptologist Jean Leclant says that the name that appears inscribed in the shield at Soleb “corresponds to the ‘tetragram’ of the god of the Bible, YHWH.”


Most scholars believe that the name Jahu, Yahu, or Yahwe in this and similar contexts must refer to a place or a district. Scholar Shmuel Ahituv says that the inscription identifies “the wandering area of the clan of the worshippers of Yāhū, the God of Israel.”* If his conclusion is correct, the place name would be just one of several ancient Semitic examples that identify both a locality and its god. Another example is Assur, which identifies the land of Assyria and its supreme deity.


Regarding the inscription in the temple at Nubia, Biblical scholar and archaeologist Roland de Vaux says: “In a region with which the forefathers of Israel had so many connections, there was, as early as the middle of the second millennium BC, a geographical or ethnic name very similar, if not identical, with the name of the God of Israel.”


A Name Still Revered


Soleb is not the only place in Nubia where the name Yahwe appears in Egyptian hieroglyphics. What appear to be copies of the Soleb list are found also in temples of Ramses II at Amarah West and at Aksha. In the Amarah listing, the hieroglyphic for “Yahwe in the Shosou land” appears close to those for other Shosou territories, thought to be Seir and Laban. The Bible associates those areas with southern Palestine, Edom, and Sinai. (Genesis 36:8; Deuteronomy 1:1) They were areas frequented by people who knew and worshipped Jehovah both before and after Israel’s sojourn in Egypt.—Genesis 36:17, 18; Numbers 13:26.


Unlike the names of other gods that appear in ancient inscriptions, the name of the God of the Bible, Jehovah, is still widely used and revered. For example, in over 230 lands, more than seven million of Jehovah’s Witnesses devote their lives to helping others not only learn that name but also draw close to the God who bears the unique name Jehovah.—Psalm 83:18; James 4:8.



The twelve diagonals are said to be the 12 diagonal lines on the tree of life. Perhaps also the 12 diagonal lines formed when all the points of the tetractys are connected. And the twelve crossings of the enneagram's web with the triangle. I'll insert one "tree of life" diagram here. This is from the Gra version and appeals to me because of its relative simplicity:


For reference, here is a tetractys (and one drawn with connecting lines)



and an enneagram and a teractys with ennegram connections illustrated:



The following diagram shows some simple symbol transformations initiated by connecting the same six points of the tetractys in two different ways to generate a Star of David and an enneagram web. Again we see how the seventh point, although not shown in either the Star of David or the enneagram, would be in the center ("three opposite three, with a decree deciding between them" as we will soon read):


The Four Stages of Rabbinic Judaism


Front Cover

Jacob Neusner

Psychology Press, 1999 - History - 226 pages

0 Reviews


This concise volume provides a lucid introduction to the genesis and development of Rabbinic Judaism.

Jacob Neusner outlines and examines the four stages in which the initial period of the historical development of Rabbinic Judaism divides, beginning with the Pentateuch and ending with its definitive and normative statement in the Talmud of Babylonia. He traces the development of Rabbinic Judaism by exploring the relationships between and among the cognate writings which embody its formative history.


Viewed through the conceptual tool-kit of the supplementary paradigm of biblical criticism, one form of source criticism, it is likely that in an earlier version of the story (the J source), Noah had four sons, not three: Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Canaan. The later Priestly source had a different tradition, however, that Noah had only three sons (5:31, 6:10, 7:13, 9:19, 10:1, all P texts).


Similarly, and perhaps even stranger, the Quran notes that Noah had four sons (Sura 11, Hud v. 42–43). This unnamed fourth son refuses to come aboard the Ark, and instead climbs a mountain and is drowned. Some later Islamic commentators give his name as either Yam or Kan’an, the latter the Arabic version of Canaan. It is difficult to determine the relationship between Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Quran, though they may have shared the same source. In any case, it is striking that an ancient tradition that was erased by P hundreds of years before the first millennium C.E. found its way back into texts over a thousand years later in such disparate sources as Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Quran.



The Torah does not use the phrase שנים מבני אהרון; nevertheless, “two of Aaron’s sons” is the correct translation, since Aaron, in fact, had four sons.


The Torah refers to four sons: One wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask a question. What does the wise son say? "What are the testimonials, statutes and laws Hashem our G-d commanded you?" You should tell him about the laws of Pesach, that one may eat no dessert after eating the Pesach offering.

What does the wicked son say? "What does this drudgery mean to you?" To you and not to him. Since he excludes himself from the community, he has denied a basic principle of Judaism. You should blunt his teeth by saying to him: "It is for the sake of this that Hashem did for me when I left Egypt. For me and not for him. If he was there he would not have been redeemed."

What does the simple son say? "What's this?" You should say to him "With a strong hand Hashem took me out of Egypt, from the house of servitude."

And the one who does not know how to ask, you start for him, as the Torah says: "And you should tell your son on that day, saying 'It is for the sake of this that Hashem did for me when I left Egypt.'"


In the Book of Exodus, Kehath has four sons, Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Amram marries Jochebed and sires Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.[7] Although some Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Septuagint version of the Torah state that Jochebed was Kehath's cousin,[8] the Hebrew Masoretic Text states that she was his sister[9] ---that is, Amram's aunt---and Jochebed's relationship to Levi is otherwise described unambiguously as his daughter in the Book of Numbers 26:59. According to Numbers, Kehath gained 8,600 descendants during the lifetime of his grandson.

The theory of four elements is found in the basic books of Kabbalah,such as Sefer Yetzira and the Zohar. In Sefer Yetzira (written sometime between the second and fourth centuries CE) it is found as a component of the ten sefirot(Sefer Yetzira chapter 1:8). This is the oldest version of the ten sephirot as we know them. In the Zohar we find that Man was created from the four elements: fire and wind and dust and water (Zohar -- Secrets of the Torah volume 1(Genesis), portion of Lech Lecha page 80a; see also Zohar Chadash volume 2 on the Scroll of Ruth, page 41a).

Every now and again I receive queries regarding the "Four Great Archangels" and their links with the "Four Directions." The latter is often termed the "Four Winds" (Ruchot) in Jewish Mysticism. The main problem appears to be the differences between the attributions found in Judaism and those generally employed in Hermetic Kabbalah. In the latter tradition the attributions are:

Rafael — East — Air; Michael — South — Fire; Gabriel — West — Water; and Oriel [Auriel] — North — Earth.

I addressed this topic somewhat in "The Book of Self Creation," saying:

"In Kabbalah the 'Four Elements' have been attributed to the four letters of the Ineffable Name, four Archangels, four Sefirot, four directions, the four seasons, the four phases of the Moon, etc., etc. However, attempting to find a uniform set of attributions from primary Kabbalistic literature is extremely difficult, since there have been major differences of opinion in this regard. In fact, nowhere does the statement 'there is only one thing Kabbalists agreed upon and that is that they don’t agree,' apply more accurately than in this instance.


For instance, taking the earlier Short, Long and Saadia versions as a baseline, the structure of the sephirot has been subject to revision from two directions -- from above in the order of the first four sephirot -- beginning/first and end/last and good and evil -- as with Isaac Luria's assigning Good to Kether and Evil to Malkuth -- and from below in changing the nature of Malkut from a planetary sephirot to one forming an element called "earth," a non-existent Yetziratic element and displacing the planets upward into the first four/inner court.


The formative categories, while less poetic, are more general and inclusive; the attributive categories are allusions to the underlying energy. There are many examples where the formative category is more useful or leads to a deeper insight into the function or structure of a Sephirot.


"Strength" is not particularly helpful in understanding the 5th Sephira, but "Life" echos on every level.


The first four sephirot begin with the permutations of Rouahh Elohim Hhaim, Breath of Elohim Alive, which result in Esch Memaim , Fire in the Waters.


The 5th Sephira is sealed twice with Yod-Hay-Waw: the two lives of YHWH. The 5th is a hinge between the inner life of the first four sephirot and the outer life of the last six.


Which is why Saturn/Shabatai must be formed there, with the contary qualities of Life and Death, and the possibility of realizing the Sabbath.




29) Now we can resolve the above second inquiry: what is our role in the long chain of reality, of which we are but tiny links, during the short span of our days? Know that our work during the seventy years of our days is divided in four:


The First Division is to obtain the excessive will to receive without restraints, in its full, corrupted measure from under the hands of the four impure worlds ABYA. If we do not have that corrupted will to receive, we will not be able to correct it, for “one cannot correct that which is not in him.”


Thus, the will to receive imprinted in the body at birth is insufficient. Rather, it must also be a vehicle for the impure Klipot for no less than thirteen years. This means that the Klipot must dominate it and give it their lights, for their lights increase its will to receive. That is because the fulfillments that the Klipot provide the will to receive with only expand and enhance the demands of the will to receive.


For example, at birth, he has a desire for only a hundred, and not more. But when the Sitra Achra provides the one hundred, the will to receive immediately grows and wants two hundred. Then, when the Sitra Achra provides fulfillment for the two hundred, the desire immediately expands to want four hundred. And if one does not overcome it through Torah and Mitzvot, and purifies the will to receive to turn it into bestowal, one’s will to receive expands throughout one’s life, until eventually he dies without attaining half his desires. This is regarded as being under the Sitra Achra and the Klipot, whose role is to expand and enhance his will to receive and make it exaggerated and unrestrained in any way, to provide one with all the material he needs to work with and correct.


30) The Second Division is from thirteen years and on. At that point, the point in his heart, which is the posterior of holiness, is given strength. Although it is dressed in his will to receive at birth, it only begins to awaken after thirteen years, and then one begins to enter the system of the pure worlds, to the extent that one observes Torah and Mitzvot.


The primary aim of that time is to obtain and intensify the spiritual will to receive, because at birth, one has only a will to receive for corporeality. Therefore, although one has obtained the excessive will to receive before he turned thirteen, it is still not the completion of the growth of the will to receive, for the primary intensification of the will to receive is only to spirituality.


This is because if, for example, prior to turning thirteen, one’s will to receive wishes to devour all the wealth and respect in this corporeal world. This is apparently not an eternal world, and for all of us it is but a fleeting shadow. But when one obtains the excessive spiritual will to receive, one wishes to devour, for one’s own delight, all the wealth and delights in the next, eternal world, which is an eternal possession. Thus, the majority of the excessive will to receive is completed only with the will to receive spirituality.


31) It is written in New Tikkun (97b) about the verse (Proverbs 30, 15), “The horseleech hath two daughters: ‘Give, give.’”: “A leech means Hell. And the evil caught in that Hell cry as dogs ‘Hav, Hav (Hebrew: Give, Give),’” meaning “give us the wealth of this world, give us the wealth of the next world.”


Yet it is a much more important degree than the first, since aside from obtaining the full measure of the will to receive, giving one all the material one needs for one’s work, this is the degree that brings one to Lishma (for Her Name). It is as our sages said (Pesachim 50b): “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot lo Lishma (not for Her Name), as from Lo Lishma, one comes to Lishma.”


Hence, this degree, which comes past the thirteen years, is deemed holiness. This is considered the holy maid that serves her mistress, which is the Holy Shechina (Divinity). This is because the maid brings one to Lishma, and he is rewarded with the inspiration of Divinity. Yet, one should take every measure suited to bring one to Lishma, since if one does not strain for that and does not achieve Lishma, he will fall into the pit of the impure maid, which is the opposite of the holy maid, whose role is to confuse a person, that the Lo Lishma will not bring him to Lishma. It is said about her: “handmaid that is heir to her mistress” (Proverbs 30, 23), for she will not let one near the mistress, which is the Holy Divinity.


And the final degree in this division is that he will fall passionately in love with the Creator, as one falls passionately for a corporeal love, until the object of passion remains before one’s eyes all day long and all night long, as the poet says, “When I remember Him, He does not let me sleep.” Then it is said of him: “but desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13, 12). This is because the five degrees of the soul are the Tree of Life, which stretches over five hundred years. Each degree lasts a hundred years, meaning it will bring him to receive all five Behinot (discernments) NRNHY(Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, Yechida) clarified in the third division.


32) The Third Division is the work in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma, in order to bestow and to not receive reward. This work cleanses the will to receive for oneself and replaces it with a will to bestow. To the extent that one purifies the will to receive, he becomes worthy of receiving the five parts of the soul called NRNHY (below Item 42). This is because they stand in the will to bestow (see Item 23), and cannot clothe one’s body as long as the will to receive – which is opposite, or even different in form from the soul – controls it.


That is because the matter of dressing and equivalence of form go hand in hand (see Item 11). And when one is rewarded with being entirely in the will to bestow and not at all for oneself, he will be rewarded with obtaining equivalence of form with his Upper NRNHY, which extend from one’s origin in Ein Sof in the first state, through the pure ABYA, and will immediately extend and clothe him in a gradual manner.


The Fourth Division is the work conducted after the revival of the dead. This means that the will to receive, which had already been completely absent through death and burial, is now revived in its excessive, worst will to receive, as our sages said: “The dead will be revived in their flaws” (Item 28). And then it is turned into reception in the form of bestowal. However, there are a chosen few who were given this work while still living in this world.


We have said that this world is divided into still, vegetative, animate and speaking (SVAS), corresponding to the four Sefirot HBTM. Still corresponds to Malchut, vegetative corresponds to Tifferet, animate to Bina, and speaking to Hochma. And the root of them all corresponds to Keter. But as we have said, even in the smallest item in each species in the SVAS there are four discernments of SVAS. Hence, even in a single item of the speaking category, meaning even in one person, there are also SVAS, which are the four parts of his will to receive, where the point from the Nefesh of Kedusha is dressed.




The phrase ". . .you will quadruple in threefoldness" alludes as well to

circumcision. As we will study at greater length in Chapter Four, Abulafia is much

occupied with the bipartite nature of circumcision, a construction that conforms with

his conception of the Active Intellect. The procedure of circumcision is itself,

following rabbinic tradition, comprised of two steps, or, as it is traditionally put, of

warp and woof. The Hebrew for this phrase, sheti va- 'erev, Abulafia frequently

parses in such a fashion that it yields the words "two and four," shetayyim va-

'arba '. 76 It is in a similar fashion that Abulafia employs the phrase ". . .you will

quadruple in threefoldness," as we will continue to see. So, despite the caustic

reference to Jesus/Muhammad as the bastard son of an impure woman, the two as

well comprise an entity that is built from warp and woof. This entity, in fact, as we

shall see, is to be understood as cruciform. It is complete, but only as a corporeal and

thus a demonic entity. That Abulafia in the current context nevertheless considers it,

as elsewhere, to constitute a kind of a covenant, although one grossly inferior to that

of the Jews, may be suggested in his remark above that "all of the world" is


139 An interesting articulation of this idea is found in Abulafia, Hayyei ha-Olam

ha-Ba, pp. 86-87: "The numerical sum of the three names [YHWH, Elohim, and

Adonai = 26 + 86 + 65] equals 177, and their secret is gan eden [3 + 50 + 70 + 4 +

50 = 177], mentioned above in the secret of the three gradations, which allude to the

three worlds, for the providence in them, in general and in particular, is to establish

what is worthy of being established in perpetuity, and the secret is the name el olam

[1 + 30 + 70 + 6 + 30 + 40 = 177], and his name is delight for the righteous and the

prophets. And the secret of the two names alone [Elohim and Adonai = 86 + 65 = 151]

is ha-olam [5 + 70 + 6 + 30 + 40 = 151], and the secret of ha-olam is qanna [100 +

50 + 1 = 151] and also qomah [100 + 6 + 40 + 5 = 151].... However, the secret of the

two names [whose numerical value is] twenty-six [YHWH] and sixty-five [Adonai]

is mal'akh [40 + 30 + 1 + 20 = 91] ha-elohim [5 + 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 91], and

his name is el qanna [1 + 30 + 100 + 50 + 1 = 182], and his secret is ya'aqov [10 +

70 + 100 + 2 = 182]." I cannot here enter into all the details of this rich passage, but

let me simply note that the expression el olam is to be decoded in the construct state

as the God of the world, that is, it signifies the divine providence in the cosmos. The

expression "the world" {ha-olam) is linked numerically to the two terms qanna and

qomah. I suggest that qanna is an abbreviated reference to el qanna, the "impassioned


diagram of a cruciform that appears in Abulafia's Sefer ha-Berit. 140 The

lateral axis is made up of the words we-kharat berit hadashah, "and he

will decree a new covenant," which are derived from Jeremiah 31:30.

The upper half of the horizontal axis is made up of the words yimlokh

yhwh le'olam, "the Lord will reign eternally," which are based on Exo-

dus 15:18, and the lower half of the words le'ammo, "to his nation,"

and u-shemo ye'amen, "and his name will be fulfilled." An analysis of

this text in all of its intricacies cannot be pursued here, but the main

point is clear enough: Abulafia undermines the scriptural foundation

of Christianity by affirming that the real "new testament" consists of

the gnosis of the name YHWH, which is the unique and eternal heri-

tage of the Jewish people. An allusion to this is found in the fact that

the first and last letters of the expression we-kharat berit hadashah are

waw-he, the last two letters of the Tetragrammaton. Moreover, the first

and last letters of yimlokh at the top of the cross are yod and kaf, and

the first and last letters of ye'amen at the bottom are yod and nun; all

four together spell yakhin. When the letters waw and he are added to

these four, the result is the expression wa-yehi khen, "and so it was,"

the "seal of the account of creation" (hotam ma'aseh bere'shit), the

"secret of being" (sod ha-hawayah). 141 The combination of yakhin and

waw-he spells wa-yehi khen, the slogan that terminates the sixth day

of the creation story (Genesis 1:30), and thus Abulafia refers to it as

the secret of being — both expressions numerically equal 101. It is likely

that the latter phrase denotes as well the mystery of the name, since


It is The Book of the Pious of the Hasidei Ashkenaz that provides an

especially useful glimpse into the implications for medieval Jews - and, more

specifically, for at least some circles of Jewish mystics - of the phrase "sheti va-

'erev." The phrase occurs several times in this important text with reference to the

Christian sign of the cross. It is unsurprising, but still worth observing, that in each

of these appearances of the phrase the authors manifest an anxiety with regard to the

perceived idolatrous dimension of the cross. In the first of these we find the


"Num. 21:8.






following: "If on a bowl or a cup or vessel the Gentiles made a cross [sheti va-

'erev], for as long as the cross is upon it do not use it until it is scratched off, and

needless to say if there are faces on it." Elsewhere 39 we find: "If a man is in a

synagogue and he sees out the window a church or a cross [sheti va- 'erev], he should

place something in the window so that he won't see it." Two other occurrences of the

phrase in The Book of the Pious address the cross' appearance on Christian coins.

The first of these 40 reads: "A man should not carry even pocket money with a cross

[sheti va- 'erev] on it, nor cloth that is used for idolatry like coarse silk and the like."

Lastly, we find: 41 "The sages say that a man may bundle coins at the end of a cloth in

which tefillin are bound, but this cloth [must be such that] they [the coins] are not

together with the tefillin. But if on the coins there is a cross [sheti va- 'erev], he will

not bind them to the cloth of tefillin [at all]."


That Abulafia's usage of the phrase sheti va- 'erev occurs at the nexus of his

discussion of several christological themes and motifs should leave little doubt that

by this phrase he intends the meaning "cruciform," as with the authors of The Book

of the Pious. This, then, is the nature of Esau's covenant for Abulafia: it is cruciform.

The motif, as it appears in Abulafia's writings, will bear further investigation. Before

we move on to several other passages related to the notion of a "covenant of Esau,"

there is more still to observe in the above passage from the commentary to Sefer


That this

cruciform demiurge is Jesus we have already established. Calling him "the head of

corners," likely an allusion to Psalm 1 18:22, 43 and a theme applied by Christians to

Jesus beginning with the Gospels, as discussed in the last chapter, 44 only reinforces

this identification.


In Sefer ha-Brit, a portion of the text of the manuscript is itself arranged in the form of a cross. The

phrase "and cut a new covenant (v'karat brit hadasha)" make up the cross' lateral axis. Abulafia

observes that the first and last letters of this phrase are VH, the second half of the Tetragrammaton,

following which he records a set of letter transpositions of the complete Tetragrammaton. We may

surmise that he conceived of the vertical axis of this cross in terms of the first half of the

Tetragrammaton, YH, just as, as we have seen, he viewed the Tetragrammaton as cruciform, sheti va-

'erev. Abulafia's critique of the Christian covenant may be apparent in the text itself that comprises

the cross' horizontal axis, "and cut a new covenant," by which he likely sought to imply the

insufficiency of the Christian covenant. The VH of the Tetragrammaton, we have seen, corresponds

for Abulafia with Christendom. That Abulafia conceived of the vertical axis in terms of the YH is

apparent: He derives the words "and it was so" from the four letters that begin and end that axis' first

and last lines (yod, kaf yod and nun), combined with the letters vav and he'. The latter two letters, we

recall, come from the cross' other axis. Together, this phrase, Abulafia reports, is the secret of "the

existence (ha-havayah)," the word havayah being comprised of the same letters as the complete

Tetragrammaton. Sefer ha-Brit, MS Munich-BS 285 fol. 36b; printed edition, pp. 54-55.

400 worlds

And this dragon hath been castrated since his crest (or membrum genitale), together with his mate, have been repressed, and thence have been formed four hundred desirable worlds


43. I, Yod, therefore irradiateth two. (That is, the letter I, Yod, in this square of the Tetragrammaton hath a double sense of influx, forasmuch as in the first instance it signifieth the father who illuminateth the mother; and forasmuch as in the second instance it signifieth the Microprosopus, or rather his treaty, which illuminateth the kingdom.) And (again in another manner) it shineth (that is, and also hath a third signification, whilst in the complete name it constituteth the last letter), and passeth on into the woman. That is, and denoteth the bride of Microprosopus, as is shown above, because it is put in the place of the last H, He, of the Tetragrammaton IHVH; like as also it hath the same power of signification in the connection of the names of existence and domination in this manner, IAChD, VNHI.)


44. (Now he turneth to the last part of this square, which is I, Yod, alone, and saith), I, Yod, remaineth one and alone (in order that it may show that all flow out from the one single letter I, Yod, which is in the form of a point, yet partaking of three parts, concerning which see elsewhere; yet in this place denoting only the woman, or the kingdom, wherein are contained all the supernals.).


[Yod at the end of the Tetragrammaton denotes the synthesis, the circular movement by which the end returns to the beginning. In the secret qabalistical alphabet known as the "celestial alphabet," Yod is represented by three circles at the angles of an equilateral triangle with the apex uppermost. Malkuth, the tenth Sephira, of course receives the influx of all the other Sephiroth (see Table showing the reception and transmission of the Sephiroth in the four worlds.]


45. And then (if now the Tetragrammaton be not considered in the manner just described, but in this manner of instituting the square, IHVI, IHV, IH, I,


p. 64


then Yod also is in a certain sense solitary, but in a plainly contrary sense. For it ascendeth in its path upwards and upwards. (That is, it doth not so much receive the higher sense, in order that it may denote the beautiful path or the foundation; but the highest, that is, the father or the wisdom.) The woman is again hidden. (That is, in this instance, the former meaning by which it denoted the bride of Microprosopus, namely, the last letter of the above-written form of the Tetragrammaton, ceaseth in itself.)


(This is in the converse manner. The letter I no longer signifies the bride when it ceases to be the final letter of a Tetragrammaton.]


46. And the mother is illuminated (that is, in the second part of the ordinary averse Tetragrammaton, which consists of the letters IH, to the letter I, Yod, which hath the signification of the father, is added the letter H, He, which is the mother, and because these two are combined by themselves, hence that luminous influence is denoted wherewith the understanding is imbued by the supernal wisdom); and is opened out into her gates (that is, if these two letters be bound closely together, then out of the dead the pentad originateth the number 50, by which are denoted the fifty gates of the understanding; these are said to be opened because the letter H, He, is last and unprotected, not being shut in by any other succeeding letter.)


[This is taking the letters Th separate from the rest of the Tetragrammaton, but themselves conjoined. And as I = 10 and H = 5, these two conjoined (multiplied together) give N = 50. And these are the fifty gates or properties of the understanding. These are opened, because in the word IH, Yah, the letter H is last, not being shut in, as by VH in the Tetragrammaton IHVH, or V in the trigram IHV.]


47. The key is added which containeth six, and closeth its gate. (That is, in the third part of this averse form, which is IHV, the letter H is not altogether


p. 65


the last; but V, the third letter of the Tetragrammaton, closeth it in on the other side, whereby are denoted the six members of the Microprosopus, superinvesting the six members of the mother in such a manner that her last gate, which is the path of glory, HVD, Hod, is closed, and combined with the remainder, which are--Benignity, Severity, Beauty, Victory; drawing their existence singly out of the decad.)


[In the Trigram IHV, V may be called the key. because it closeth the fifty gates symbolized by IH, by coming next to H, so as to close or shut in that letter between itself and I. By "the decad" is meant the ten Sephiroth, which are symbolized by the numerical value of I, which is 10.]


48. And it applieth to the inferiors and to this part. (Or, as others read, "it applieth to this side and to that." Now, the discourse is concerning the fourth part of the square, where the name is complete, whether written as H or as I in the last path; so that, nevertheless, the bride of Microprosopus may be added. Therefore on either side hath Microprosopus a connecting link, for he superinvesteth the mother from the supernal part, so that he may receive her into himself as his soul; and he also again is covered by his bride from the inferior part, so that he in his turn may himself become her soul.)


[The bride, the inferior H, He. is said to be a reflection of the mother, the supernal H, He, in the Tetragrammaton: just as Microprosopus is said to be the reflection of Macroprosopus.]


49. Woe unto him who shall open her gate! (The gates are said to be paths through which influence rusheth forth; they are said to be closed, because, on the other hand, too much influence cannot be taken away from the inferiors; wherefore the members are said to be overshadowed by the members, so that the light may diminish in its transit. But when those very concatenations and cohibitions of the lights are separated by