The Fifty Gates of Wisdom

Although foreboding clouds may line the sky,
My love will fill my desire.
When passing through the Fifty Gates of Wisdom,
Discerning Leah will push me onward
And with me the love of Rachel for her sons, I will not sway.
By your sovereign secrets I will reach the tenth sphere,
Oh Almighty,
Hurry with the salvation
For Your nation
Wrapped in the tranquility of Inner peace,
Our throats are raw
For we the Children of Jacob
The Treasures of Abraham. 


Rabbi Shalom Shabazi / Ofrah Haza
(from the poem "Ayelet Chen")


The Fifty Gates of Wisdom are an essential concept found in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Jewish Qabalah.

The 50 Gates are really 49 days or 7 weeks of self-elevation and self-evaluation followed by one day of prophetic revelation, that the Israelites strived for from the time of the Exodus from Egypt until the time they received the Torah at Mount Sinai, where HaShem sealed His Covenant with them.

It is said that all of Israel experienced prophecy at this time and heard the Kol HaShem (voice of God) declare the Commandments.

How is it possible for an entire nation to be able to experience prophecy? This is the secret of the 50 Gates of Wisdom (also defined as the 50 Gates of Understanding).

Being worthy of receiving prophecy requires character improvement. There are 49 aspects of character that the Israelites worked on developing while they wandered in the wilderness. These aspects correspond to the combinations of the 7 lower sefirot which are called midot or character qualities from the Hebrew.

To understand this concept it is necessary to define the "Sefirot":

All of the Sefirot are God's essence, and though appearing to be distinct, each has a relationship with the others. An illustration of this can be seen by the principle that God chastises those He loves. Here we see the God's Sefirah of judgment acting with His Sefirah of mercy.

The Sefirot are also considered to have a quality of "proximity" to the Eyn Sof. The "higher" Sefirot are closely associated with the fourth or highest heaven (that of the Eyn Sof), the lower Sefirot are linked to the lower three heavens and the physical world.

It is also taught that when the Sefirot came into being in Creation, that they came in sequence, with the lowest one emanating from the ones before it, and so on, all the way to the "highest" one, which has the closest relationship to the Eyn Sof. It is important to remember, that although the Sefirot came into the existence of Creation, they emanate from the Eternal Eyn Sof, and therefore are, in this respect, "eternal".

Through a careful study of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures), the Jewish sages have identified ten Sefirot (ten being the number of Divine perfection). Listed consecutively from the "highest" to "lowest," they are known by the following names and associated characteristics and alternative names:

1. Keter - Primary meaning: Crown; also known as: Upper Crown, Ayin (nothingness), Hokhmah Penimit (internal wisdom), Mahshavah Elohit (Divine thought), Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of God), root of roots, mysterious wisdom, the origin, Ancient, will, Ahyah Asher Ahyah, (I am That Who I am), Atika Kadisha (The Holy Ancient One), Atik Yomin (The Ancient of Days), Arik Anpin (The Merciful).

2. Chokmah - Primary meaning: Wisdom; also known as: Revelation, the Primordial Torah (the Torah that existed before Creation), Abba, Father, Yesh me-ayin (being from nothingness), Beginning, HaShem.

3. Binah - Primary meaning: Understanding; also known as: Intellect, Teshuvah (Repentance), reason, palace, temple, womb, Imma, upper Mother, Jerusalem above, freedom, Jubilee, "HaShem pronounced as Elohim".

4. Chesed - Primary meaning: Mercy; also known as: Grace, Love of God, right arm of God, white, El, associated with Avraham.

5. Gevurah - Also called "Din" - Primary meaning: Judgment; also known as: strength, severity, fear of God, left arm of God, red, Elohim, HaShem, associated with Yitzhak.

6. Tiferet - Primary meaning: Beauty; also known as: Harmony, Rachamim (compassion), the attribute of mercy, the written Torah, Bridegroom, Husband, Son, King, Father, Messiah, Tabernacle/Temple, the Holy Tree, (Tree of Life), heaven, the letter "vav," Creator, Gate of Righteousness, "the Holy One blessed be He" (Baruch HaShem) HaShem, Adonay-Elohim, the Great Name, the Unique Name, open miracles, lulov [on Sukkoth], the shofar [as related to the mitzvot of blowing the shofar], green, Tefillin of the head, associated with Ya'kov.

7. Netzach - Primary meaning: Victory; aso known as: eternity, prophecy, orchestration, initiative, persistence, bitachon (confidence), right leg, "Adonay Tzevaot", associated with Mosheh.

8. Hod - Primary meaning: Glory; also known as: majesty, splendor, reverberation, prophecy, surrender, temimut (sincerity), anchor, steadfastness, left leg, "Hosts of Elohim," associated with Aharon.

9. Yesod - Primary meaning: Foundation; also known as: "Almighty God, Living God", the "lower end" of the heavens, El Shaddai, El Hai, Tzaddik (Righteous One), pillar connecting heaven and earth, seal of truth, procreative power, Messiah, Covenant, hidden miracles, "all things," purity, associated with Yosef.

10. Malkut - Primary meaning: Kingdom; also known as: Shekinah (Presence), Atarah (diadem), Kingship, Shabath, lower Crown, the attribute of justice, Kahal Yisrael (Assembly of Israel), Court of God, the oral Torah, Nukvah, Bride, Wife, lower Mother "the Spirit of His Holiness", the lesser "hey", Adonay, the Honorable Name, hidden miracles, the etrog [on Sukkot], queen, Tefillin of the hand, humility, associated with David.

There is an additional "Sefirah" called Da'at (Knowledge), that is counted when Keter is not considered.

These ten Sefirot are further divided into two groups. The three "upper" ones, associated with the "higher heavenly realms," are:




When Da'at-Knowledge is mentioned it is considered as emanating from the realm of the above three.

The remaining seven are considered the "lower" ones and are associated with Creation and the world:








The names of the ten Sefirot are found scattered through the Scriptures. Speaking of Betzal'el's qualifications for building the Tabernacle, God says that He gave him great insight into the three higher Sefirot:

Shemot 31:3 - "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God (Keter), in wisdom (Chokmah), and in understanding (Binah), and in knowledge (Da'at), and in all manner of workmanship."

Here we see that Betzal'el was filled with the Sefirot of Chokhmah-Wisdom and Binah-Understanding. Note also that he possessed the "Spirit of God", that is associated with Da'at-Knowledge.

The seven lower Sefirot can be found in another Scripture:

1 Dibre Hayamim 29:11 - "Yours, O HaShem, is the greatness(Chesed), and the power (Gevurah), and the glory (Tiferet), and the victory (Netzach), and the majesty (Hod): for all (Yesod) that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom(Malkut), O HaShem, and You are exalted as Head above all."

The Sefirot are often arranged vertically in four groups. Each of these groups is associated with one of the four heavens. The four heavens are further linked to the carrying out of the will of God, represented as "four worlds": of calling, creating, forming and making.

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

"Every one that is called by My Name; whom I have created, formed, made for My Glory."

These four levels of calling, creating, forming and making, recur throughout the Scriptures and throughout Kabalah. A common arrangement of the Sefirot 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 Sefirah that can be contemplated. It is associated with the aspects of time (the past), of "Father" and the "Y" in the Name of God.

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

The next six Sefirot 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. Tiferet is considered central to this group and often represents Zer Anpin in itself.

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

The upper Sefirot of Chokmah and Binah relate to beginning and end (past and future), as God Himself is the Aleph and the Tav.
Malkut, being the Sefirah farthest from Eyn Sof, is simply said to be representing the direction away from God, although it is also the beginning point in a relationship with God.

The relationship between the ten Sefirot is said to be ruled by three Divine principles: Mercy, Justice and Will. As such, the Sefirot are presented in three "columns" or "pillars". This arrangement is known as the "Tree of Life".
All of the Sefirot exist in each of the four worlds; the world of Azilut (Emanation) is said to be outside of the realm of time, and contains the other three worlds (Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyyah), as well as the purest essence of the Sefirot, "within itself".
See the
"Tree of Life" in the next page.

  4th heaven - "Y" (Yod)
(Atzilut - world Emanation)
  Pure Will
Realm of Eyn Sof
Godly Unity
  3rd heaven - "H" ("greater" Hey)
(Beriah - world Creation)
Realm of the Throne
  2nd heaven - "V" (Vav)
(Yetzirah - world of Formation)
Realm of Angels
Malkut   1st heaven - "H" ("lesser" Hey)
(Asiyyah - world of Action)
Realm of the Shekinah
and physical creation

The counting is done backwards from the highest level to the lowest since prophecy is energy transferred from God to man:

Chesed - kindness - Avraham (epitomized quality)
Gevurah - judgement power - Yitzhak
Tiferet - beauty - Ya'kov
Netzah - victory eternity - Mosheh
Hod - thankfulness - Aharon
Yesod - foundation - Yosef
Malkut - kingdom - David
Shavuot - the day of the giving of the Torah, the revelation and prophecy

We are not capable of creating perfection; only HaShem can make something perfect. All we can do is strive towards it. But by counting for forty-nine days, it is as if we counted the fiftieth also. For the fiftieth level is the natural result of our achievement in securing the first forty-nine. This is the significance of Lag Ba'Omer as explained by the Maharsha (Moed Kattan 28a). The majority of the Omer count is reached when two-thirds of the time passes. That occurs on the thirty-third day. Once most of the period has passed successfully, one can be confident to be successful in likewise fulfilling the remainder. Lag Ba'Omer is a day to rejoice in one's way towards perfection. The Midrash comments: "When are the days of the Omer perfect and complete? When we fulfill God's will" (Vayikra Rabbah 28:3). It is the intensity of our quest for perfection in performing God's will that infuses our counting of the omer with added meaning and effectiveness. May we strive for perfection in all that we do, so that our efforts will be crowned by success by HaShem, Who will bring us to the ultimate perfection, "granting His nation strength and blessing it with peace".

At that moment the upper three Sefiroth appear as one, as Binah. The Fifty Gates of Intelligence.

Then, the Fifty gates of Wisdom are arranged in a progressive development as follows:

1   Malkut within MALKUT      
2   Yesod within MALKUT      
3   Hod within MALKUT      
4   Netzach within MALKUT      
5   Tiferet within MALKUT      
6   Gevurah within MALKUT      
7   Chesed within MALKUT      
8   Malkut within YESOD      
9   Yesod within YESOD      
10   Hod within YESOD      
11   Netzach within YESOD      
12   Tiferet within YESOD      
13   Gevurah within YESOD      
14   Chesed within YESOD      
15   Malkut within HOD      
16   Yesod within HOD      
17   Hod within HOD      
18   Netzach within HOD      
19   Tiferet within HOD      
20   Gevurah within HOD      
21   Chesed within HOD      
22   Malkut within NETZACH      
23   Yesod within NETZACH      
24   Hod within NETZACH      
25   Netzach within NETZACH      
26   Tiferet within NETZACH      
27   Gevurah within NETZACH      
28   Chesed within NETZACH      
29   Malkut within TIFERET      
30   Yesod within TIFERET      
31   Hod within TIFERET      
32   Netzach within TIFERET      
33   Tiferet within TIFERET      
34   Gevurah within TIFERET      
35   Chesed within TIFERET      
36   Malkut within GEVURAH      
37   Yesod within GEVURAH      
38   Hod within GEVURAH      
39   Netzach within GEVURAH      
40   Tiferet within GEVURAH      
41   Gevurah within GEVURAH      
42   Chesed within GEVURAH      
43   Malkut within CHESED      
44   Yesod within CHESED      
45   Hod within CHESED      
46   Netzach within CHESED      
47   Tiferet within CHESED      
48   Gevurah within CHESED      
49   Chesed within CHESED      
50   Binah - EYN SOF      


Now, let us consider the album "Shirey Teyman", also called "Fifty Gates of Wisdom", that is a collection of devotional poetry (Diwan), a selection of deeply meaningful songs, plenty of spiritual energy. These are ten songs, of which three are gathered in a medley, symbolizing the Sefirot, "three plus seven", though being in appearance eight songs, being the eight the number of new beginning or the new Creation, the fiftieth Gate of Wisdom.











These poems, written by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, Se'adia Ben and Aharon Amram, have a deep spiritual energy flowing directly from the Sefirot, and that only Ofra Haza has been able to transmit in such a way that whoever is in search of the Fifty Gates of Wisdom may be spiritually taken to Heaven by listening to her. Visit "The voice of Heaven".




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