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Symbols of the Kabbalah Demystified


Kabbalah is an ancient series of mystical teachings. Originally intended to clarify the true meaning of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and demystify Jewish religious traditions, it has undergone various adaptations over the centuries: Jewish (both Karaite and rabbinic), Christian, New Age, and even Occultist. Today, Kabbalah is a trendy doctrine thanks to celebrities like Madonna, Demi Moore, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Kabbalah teaches that God consists of 10 ‘emanations’, or sephirot. By studying them, one can get closer to the Ein Sof, or Infinite. Each of the symbols listed below represents some aspect or characteristic of these sephirot.





Tree of Life

(Etz haChayim in Hebrew): The Tree of Life, which represents the essence of Kabbalah, is one of its more recognized symbols. It features all 10 sephirot, which are grouped into four realms: Atziluth (the infinite), Beriah (the creative world), Yetsirah (creation / formation) and Assiah (the material world). Only the latter represents physical existence: the other three are ethereal creation mysteries that require intense study to be understood.

Kabbalah Tree of Life

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Hamsa

Hamsa
This Kabbalah symbol looks like an extended hand. The name literally means ‘five’ and, according to some disciplines, represents the five books of the Torah.
The essence of Hamsa is peace and fellowship. Other, related, meanings derive from this interpretation: communal prayer, welcoming others, and both mental and physical healing. Those who display or wear Hamsa are required to continually pray for those who view it.





Star of David

The Star of David (Magen David in Hebrew) is the most widely recognized Jewish identity symbol. In Kabbalah, it has two meanings: a symbol of God’s rule over the universe in all six directions (Up, Down, North, South, East, West) and the dichotomies integral to human existence: good vs. evil, physical world vs. spiritual realms, etc.

Tradition states that the particular structure of the Star of David, which was inspired by King David’s hexagonal shield, attracts protection and good fortune.


Star of David


Star of David




Mezuza

Mezuzua
The Zohar, which is the primary book of Kabbalah, indicates that when a Jew affixes a mezuzah to their door, God protects the home from harmful forces. It is a symbol of protection that warns messengers of evil that God is watching. The word mezuzoth is actually a blend of the two words maveth and zaz, which together mean “Death, remove thyself.”





Chai

In Hebrew, Chai (or Cha’i) means ‘alive’. The symbol, which consists of the Hebrew letters Chet Yod, represents charity, wealth, and longevity in traditional Judaism. Its gematric (numerical) value is 18, which is why Jews traditionally give out charity in multiples of 18. Kabbalistic texts indicate that the letter Chet is connected to the Tree of Life’s 18th path, which involves intelligence and influence. Chai




Merkabah

Merkabbah
A three-dimensional representation of the Star of David, Merkabah releases positive energy that brings both blessings and protection when worn as a talisman. In traditional Kabbalah, meditating on Merkabah helps one access the spiritual plain and seek the eternal wisdom and knowledge of the universe. Its message in that there is more to human existence than the physical world alone







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