The 32 Paths of Wonder in the Creation Story Genesis

"The House of Elohim"

"The House of Elohim"

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The Numbers 10 and 32 in Parashat Bereshit

In the Creation narrative that includes the ten utterances (namely the six days of creation) there appears the name of God – Elohim – 32 times, until the summary: “and God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (in the sequel, the appelation Elohim will appear three more times, in the section that deals with the declaration of the Sabbath). We have, therefore, a verbal pattern made of ten (utterances) and thirty-two (appearances of “Elohim”). This is a pattern that is treated intensively in Sefer Ye?irah – the earliest of the Qabbalah texts[12] – and this is its language:

“In thirty-two paths of wondrous Wisdom engraved Yah (there follows a list of Ten Holy Names) and created His world in three Sepharim (commonly translated as “books”) – in Sepher, Sopher and Sippur; Ten Sephirot Belimah and Twenty-Two letters” (Sefer Ye?irah, 1:1-2).

The pattern of the ten Sephirot is perhaps the general basic (and hidden) pattern of Being, Creation, the Soul of Man and the World of Tiqqun (Restitution), and the majority of the Mequbalim (“Kabbalists”) employed it extensively. (We may single here The Bahir, Yoseph Jikatila’s Sha’?re Orah (Gates of Light) and of course The Zohar. Since their publication, it is common to see in the ten Sephirot the essence of the esoteric teachings in Judaism, though we shall later mention the later, and less known, Kabbalah). There is no need to explain it here (its essence is given in appendix ‘A’). But we shall note here one aspect that is important for understanding the realization of the Acts of Bereshit in our times, and which has not yet been noted by the interpreters.

The primordial decimal Bereshit pattern, which constructs the “Tree of the Sephirot”, will bring us to a system made of 1010 elements. This is according to the assumption that each Sephirah is made of a tenfold count of the Sephirah below it (in other words, that the ten primordial utterances has a fractal structure, and each one of them is made in the decimal pattern, so that each Creation utterance multiplies the possibilities ten-fold), so the sum total is 10 billion.

According to a theory developed by the English researcher Peter Russell in his book “The Global Brain”,[13] ten to the power of ten is precisely the number needed by a system, in order to grow to an incommensurably more complex system, which allows the emergence of entirely novel and far more developed characteristics. This is, for example, the average number of atoms in a living cell, and this is the order of size of neural cells in the cortex – the “thinking” portion, or the seat of consciousness – in the human brain. This order of size – 10 to the power of 10 – also pertains to the number of stars in the galaxy we belong to – the Milky Way – and this is also the estimate for the number of galaxies in the universe. Russell claims that the human population upon earth is likely to stabilize on a population of about ten billion humans, which would allow – from a quantitative point of view – the transition to a new supra-human organization, which will act as one creature, with super-consciousness, much as the brain is the super-organization of the neurons it is made of.

Also the philosopher Engels, the partner of Karl Marx, tried (in his “Dialectics of Nature”) to determine a historical law, according to which “quantity turns into quality”, in the transitional stages of socio-historical development (nowadays such change is called “Phase Transition”). Russell calls this super-creature, made up of about 10 billion human beings who are connected together by the name of “The Global Brain”. But we can call this creature simply “Adam”, the one that is emerging towards the end of the sixth millennium according to the Hebrew calendar, a date that will occur at about the year 2240 of the Common Era.

The 32 Paths of Wonder

In spite of the common exegesis of Sefer Ye?irah, it seems that the number of “32 Wondrous Paths” is not just the sum of the ciphers (ten) and the 22 Hebrew letters, but it also a whole and meaningful entity by its own. Even traditional interpretations for Sefer Ye?irah which explain “the 32 Paths of Wisdom” as different types of Sekhalim – “intelligences” – (such as of the RaABaD), make no inner distinction of 10 and 22 among them.

From pure numerological perspective, 32 are 2 at the 5th power. At the beginning of our discussion we have surveyed the five-fold pattern of the books of the Pentateuch and of the “worlds” in the scheme of the later Qabbalah. If we note that the number 2, just like the letter Beyt which we discussed earlier, is the sign for division and distinction, then the number 32 will serve well to represent the range of distinctions that are generated in the transitions between 5 worlds (or within five dimensions). Already in the hidden world of Adam Qadmon there is a certain distinction (signified by the letter Beyt as the beginning of the Book of Bereshit), for else it would not be possible to refer to it as a “world” that contains some components {2}; This primary distinction[14] is becoming more detailed in the world below it (?lam ha’A?ilut) into further distinctions {4}; These distinctions pass further division and distinctions at the world below it (?lam haBri’ah) {8}, and so on at the World of Ye?irah-Formation {16}; and then in the world of ?ssiyah-Action, which is largely apparent to our senses, there are already 32 types of distinctions. The number 32 is associated with Wisdom-?okhmah, precisely because it requires wisdom to observe the existence of the primary distinctions – as well as of the possibility of annulling these distinctions and return affairs to the state of Unity.

It is possible to understand this by geometry, which is already present in the Sefer Ye?irah. It is possible to imagine This World (?lam haZe[15]), or the World of ?ssiyah, as a three-dimensional cube (“Cartesian Space”) that has 8 vertices, 6 faces and twelve edges. It is also possible to imagine a four-dimensional hyper-cube (Tesseract) that relates to the 3D cube much like the cube relates to the surface square, and which has 16 vertices, 24 faces and 32 edges. Sefer Ye?irah characterizes this fourth dimension as a “Year” or “Change (Shanah) – namely the dimension of remembered Time. It is even possible to imagine a five-dimensional “hyper-hyper-cube”, which has 32 vertices. Sefer Ye?irah characterizes this fifth dimension as the dimension of Nefesh – namely “soul” dimension.

This means that the number 32 characterizes both the 4D hypercube and the 5D Hyper-hypercube, and the 32 edges of the hypercube are akin to the 12 edges of the 3D cube in the visible world. Here is shown again the connection between the numbers 32 (i.e. appearances of “Elohim”) and 10 (i.e. Divine utterances), for just as the square is composed of four lines and the 3D cube is composed of six squares, the 4D hypercube is composed of 8 cubes whereas the hyper-hypercube with its 32 edges is composed of 10 hyper-cubes with 32 edges each.

An important and intrinsic importance of the number 32 in the Hebrew Scriptures is that when 32 is written by letters it is denoted as ?? that can be read as Lev, which means “Heart”, the metaphorical seat of feelings, especially love and compassion, and is thus connected with “Wisdom of the Heart”.

There is a most magnificent representation of the principles expressed by the number 32 to be found at the Temple Mount – in the magnificent pattern on the ceiling of the very Dome of the Rock.[16] It is likely that contemporary Moslems are not aware of these meanings (much like most Jews nowadays are not aware of the meaning of the numbers and patterns in the Torah), but it is very likely (and there are supporting sources to it) that the Sufi artists-designers of the shrines at the Temple Mount belonged to ancient sects of “Free Masons” and of secret knowledge (such as the circles of Pythagoreans and Mequbalim), who admired King Solomon and studied the secrets of the Temple of Solomon and of the Tabernacle, and who strove to have “the Spirit of Wisdom” like Be?al’el[17] (the architect of the Tabernacle) who knew “to combine the letters from which heaven and earth were formed” (Talmud Bavli, Berakhot 55a) and of “the wise-hearted” artisans who built the Tabernacle.[18] At any rate, it is noteworthy that in the sacred precinct of Jerusalem there are found even today specific (albeit unrecognized) representations for the secrets of Bereshit and of the Temple. In the sequel we shall use this pattern to explain the secrets of the Trees of Knowledge and of Life.

The Numbers 2,701, 37 and 73

There is yet another interesting numerical pattern connected with he first verse of Genesis, which we shall mention here only in passing (but will expand on it in the final chapter). The Gematria value of the sum of all the seven words in the verse is 2,701. This number itself is a “triangular number” (the number of elements in the patter of a triangle – i.e. 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28…)[19], but is also the product (and hence a rectangle) of two interesting numbers – 37 x 73 = 2,701. These two numbers are “figurate numbers” and their figure is of a six-pointed star, like “the Star of David”.

Both numbers are made of the ciphers of the basic numbers of Genesis and Sefer Ye?irah – three and seven. Additionally, both numbers have Gematria values as the word ?okhmah (Wisdom, ????); ?okhmah has common Gematria value of 73, and in “small Gematria” (in which letters receive the number of their ordinal position in the alphabet) its value is 37. This amounts to a geometrical statement that the first verse indeed means “In (compound) Wisdom God created the heavens and the earth”. This is just the beginning of the appearance of the “Star Number” of 37, which will still accompany us in the sequel in many different guises, especially concerning the Tribes of Israel, and they will be summarized in a general appendix at the end of the book.

A figure of the third Star (hexagram) Number – 73 (Gematria of ?okhmah-Wisdom), where each of its units contains the second Star Number – 37 (Gematria of Ye?idah – Singularity) and each of both contains the first Star Number – 13 (Gematria of E?ad {One} and also of Ahavah {Love}), rendered in darker color. The number of elements is 73 x 37 = 2,701, which is the Gematria of the first verse of Genesis.

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