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Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut: The Names of God – Elokim

This entry originally appeared on our online encyclopedia, InnerPedia.org here: http://www.innerpedia.org/index.php?title=Elokim

Elokim (אֶלהים) is one of the Names of God.

In Kabbalah, the Name Elokim is generally associated with the sefirot of gevurah (the power which complements chesed, whose Name Kel is composed of the first two letters of Elokim).

In the idiom of the sages, God’s Name Elokim corresponds to His “property of strict judgment.” This is the only Name explicit in the Torah ‘s initial account of Creation. Elokim = 86 = “hateva” (“nature”). Elokim creates “nature” through the act of tzimtzum (apparent withdrawal or contraction of God’s infinite light).

In particular, the Name Elokim manifests itself at three points of the sefirotic configuration: At the level of binah, the four letter Tetragrammaton is punctuated with the vowels of Elokim and enunciated as Elokim. Here God is referred to as Elokim Chayim (“the living God”), the ultimate source of all lifeforce which flows (as blood) through reality. At this level, even apparent contradictory opinions of our sages are understood as being “these and these the words of the living God.” God, in His strict judgment of Creation, corresponds to the manifestation of Elokim at the level of gevurah. God, as the inner essence of nature and its laws, is Elokim at the level of malchut.

Elokim, 86 = 26 (Havayah ) plus 60. 60 = kli, “vessel.” Thus Elokim is understood to be the vessel of Havayah. This is alluded to in the verse “for [as the] sun and [its] shield are Havayah [and] Elokim” (Psalms 84:12). Sun and shield are as light (source) and vessel. Likewise, 86 (Elokim) plus 60 (vessel) = 146 which = olam, “world.” This indicates that just as Elokim is the vessel of Havayah (i.e. the level of Divinity whose ultimate intention is to serve to reveal Havayah to the world), so is the world itself the vessel of Elokim (i.e. the Divinely created context in which nature itself is experienced as a manifestation of God).

In at-bash, the Name Elokim transforms to tav, kaf, tzadik, mem, yud which = 560. 560 is also the value of the word echad, “one,” when transformed by at-bash (to tav, samech, kuf). This teaches us that God’s ultimate unity is manifest throughout creation by the power of His Name Elokim, as is indicated by the quintessential proclamation of Jewish faith: “Here O’ Israel, Havayah is our Elokim, Havayah is One.” This means that by Havayah being “our Elokim,” Havayah becomes manifest throughout creation as One.

The Name Elokim possesses three “full spellings,” 291, 295, 300, which = 886. Together with the four primary “full spellings” of Havayah, which = 232, 232 plus 886 = 1118, the exact value of “Here O’ Israel, Havayah is our Elokim, Havayah is One,” the least common multiple of the two Names Havayah and Elokim (1118 = 26 times 43; 1118 = 86 times 13)!

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