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All worlds and all creatures were created through permutations of holy names

Creation and the Name of 72

Creation and the Name of 72

Creation and the Name of 72
All worlds and all creatures were created through permutations of holy names

It is important to know that all worlds [dimensions] and all creatures [that inhabit those dimensions] were created through permutations of the holy names. The supernal root of all [these names] is the name Havayah.

It has 4 letters and 12 permutations, 3 for each letter. Thus, from 4, we obtain 12.

The 12 permutations of the Havaya:













Each of the 12 has [another] 6 [permutations] yielding [a total of] 72 Names. These are the 72 triads that emerge from the three verses, "Va'yisa," "Va'yavo," and "Va'yet." (Ex. 14:19-21)

The three verses are:

1) "Va'yisa…" : "G‑d's Angel [that manifested as a pillar of cloud] - which had been moving in front of the Israelite camp, now traveled and went behind them. The pillar of cloud thus moved from in front of them and stood at their rear." (Ex. 14:19)

2) " Va'yavo…" : " It came between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp. There was now cloud and darkness [for the Egyptians] while [the pillar of fire] illuminated the night [for the Israelites]. Neither one approached the other that entire night." (Ex. 14:20)

3) " Va'yet …": "Moses extended his hand over the sea. Throughout the entire night, G‑d drove the sea back with a powerful east wind, transforming the seabed into dry land. The waters were divided." (Ex. 14:21)

These three verses are consecutive and, as written in the Torah Scroll, each one contains exactly 72 letters. They are thus the basis for what is called the Name of 72 (triads). The first triad is formed by taking the first letter of the first verse, the last letter of the second verse, and the first letter of the third verse. This same pattern - straight, backwards, and straight - is followed for the remaining 71 letters in each verse, to form 72 triads.

Corresponding to these, there are four banners [i.e. angelic camps] in the Supernal Merkava [Chariot]. They are: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. Each of these 4 consists of 3, again making a total of 12.

When we multiply each of these 12 by 6, this yields 72. These 72 are the Heavenly Tribunal, which the 70 Angel-Princes of the Nations depend on [to receive their sustenance]. Therefore, on Sukkot [when the Torah commands us to offer 70 oxen, one for each of the 70 nations (Num. 29:12-34; Sukka 55b)], we take the lulav, whose numerical value, together with its four letters [68 + 4] is 72. There are 4 basic directions from which 12 sub-directions emerge…

Rabbi Reuven Margoliot (in his commentary to Bahir #94, note gimel) suggests that the discrepancy between 70 and 72 can be made up in one of two ways. The 70 nations (mentioned in Gen. 10) become 72 when Israel and G‑d are counted. Alternatively, as mentioned in Bahir #167, 70 nations become 72 by adding Israel on one side, and the Satan on the other. Paralleling this, the 70 languages become 72 when Hebrew (the language of Israel) and Aramaic (the language of the forces of evil) are counted. Similarly, there are two ways to add to the 70 Elders to make 72: either Moses and the Shechina are added, or Moses and Aaron (as indeed the Arizal does below in our text).

Corresponding to these [either to the 4 letters of lulav, or to the 4 species that we join together: palm, myrtle, willow and etrog], were the three Patriarchs [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], plus David. [From them, came] the 12 tribes of Israel, and the 70 souls that accompanied Jacob down into Egypt. Corresponding to these were the 4 banners [camps] in the Desert. Each banner represented 3 tribes. Again, 4 x 3 = 12 tribes.

The 70 Elders together with Moses and Aaron totaled 72. Similarly, the 70 members of the Sanhedrin, plus two scribes, totaled 72. One scribe recorded everything in favor of the defendant, and one scribe recorded everything against.

Corresponding to these, there are 4 basic directions [South, North, East, West] from which 12 sub-directions emerge. Each basic direction has two sub-directions. For instance: All the different types of animals and birds…were brought into existence through the 72 triads…

With due east, there is northerly-east and southerly-east.

With due west, there is northerly-west and southerly-west.

With due north, there is easterly-north and westerly-south.

With due south, there is easterly-south and westerly-south.

And if you should ask: What is the difference between southerly-east and easterly-south? As southerly-east is a sub-direction of East, East dominates. As easterly-south is a sub-direction of South, South dominates. The same is true of all the other sub-directions. There are thus 12 sub-directions, each of which bifurcates into 6, yielding a total of 72.

Corresponding to these, there are 72 types of creatures in the world, and 72 types of vegetation. All the different types of animals and birds also total 72. Why? Because they were brought into existence through the 72 triads.

[Translation and commentary by Avraham Sutton from Likutei Torah, parashat Bereishit (Chumash HaAri, Bereishit, p. 7-9)]

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Eloki Rabbi Yitzchak, the G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Eloki [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Avraham Sutton is an Orthodox Torah teacher and author. Born in 1949 in Los Angeles to Syrian Sefardic parents, he has lived in the Jerusalem area since 1974, where he and his wife Esther have raised a family. For over 25 years, he has been learning and teaching Kabbala, Talmud, Midrash, prayer and meditation. He has translated, edited and/or authored over 15 major works in English on the deeper significance of Torah for our age. These include Innerspace -- Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophecy from transcripts of classes given by the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and Pathways to the Torah, the official sourcebook used in Arachim and Discovery Seminars worldwide. You can partake of his lectures on YouTube -- search for "Rabbi Sutton".
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
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Anonymous Qr November 18, 2013

All that exists is G-d's Creation I think this article is pointing out a remarkable difference between the language in Genesis where it's said to us that G-d created the world in 7 days and here where its author is telling us that there is a "mechanism" so to speak through which G-d has done His Creation -miracles included. Studying, analyzing, or simply speaking about this mechanism, by no means implies that G-d is not Its Creator. Reply

Sara Southfield, MI via January 29, 2013

G-d 72 names? It is my understanding that the 72 names is not "names' in the ordinary sense, rather a technology that represent the connection to the infinite that is encoded and concealed in biblical verses. These letters are connected to our very soul DNA. Man's directions is not the same as God directions. Reply

Anonymous Canton, Ohio via January 26, 2013

Kabbalah Love Light Blessings Reply

Jeff B. West Palm Beach, FL August 17, 2012

complicated i pray that i gain comprehension regarding these mult-layered/multifaceted teachings! Reply

Kris Bradenton, fl/usa via April 25, 2012

number of creatures ? mammals alone, from Google: 5,490 Reply

Anonymous Dayton, OH March 12, 2012

72 I have seen this charted out and noticed only once does a block contain three of the same letter, that would be Yod. Is there any significance to this? Reply

Anonymous January 31, 2012

The Zohar is written in aramaic, but on here I read it is the language of evil, I am confused? Reply

sullayman a a lagos, nigeria June 10, 2011

yhvh let us know the actual meaning and pronounciation of the pre-eminence name. Reply

lumpkin toledo via August 20, 2010

searching for clarity why did the 72 souls go down to egypt with jacob Reply

GMR Amsterdam, Netherlands via July 30, 2010

numbers I don't follow how you get 72 out of all of these things above. How do you get 12 subdirections? I get 8 subdirections: SE, SW, NE, NW, ES, EN, WS, WN.... And what are the 72 types of vegatation and animals? Where can I find that categorization? Reply

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