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

This entry originally appeared on our online encyclopedia, here:

Shakai (שדי) is one of the Names of God.

Shakai appears numerous times in the Bible. Often it is translated as “the Almighty.”

The gematria of Shakai is 314 (see also #Shakai and Pi).

Shakai and Foundation

Its first appearance is in context of the covenant of circumcision God made with Abraham<ref name=”genesis”>Genesis 17:1

Since the covenant of circumcision is performed on the male sexual organ, which corresopnds with the sefirah of foundation, the Name Shakai corresponds to foundation as well.

Meaning of Shakai

The sages interpret the Name Shakai as a mnemonic for the phrase, “By which He said to His world: ‘Enough'”<ref name=”chagigah1”>Chagigah 12a</ref> (שֶׁאָמָר לְעוֹלָמוֹ דַי). Thus the Name Shakai represents God’s power to limit Creation’s natural tendency to expand endlessly.

While God’s essential Name, Havayah, is often associated with revealed miracles which defy nature and its laws, the Name Shakai is associated with concealed miracles, which change the course of nature while remaining enclothed within it. The above power to limit the inertia of endless expanse is the classic example of such a concealed miracle.

An additional reading of Shakai by the sages is, “By which His Divinity is sufficient for each and every creature.” This refers to God’s power to make His Divinity conscious and accessible to every one of His creatures, regardless of their spiritual state or their place in the hierarchy of Creation.

As the sefirah of foundation is always personified by the figure of the tzadik (in each generation), he himself is the ideal model of Divinity entering into a visibly finite realm (his own body and consciousness), thus enabling him to serve as a figurative lighthouse of Divinity, revealing to the world the continuum of God’s concealed miracles and thereby rectifying world consciousness by constructively bounding nature’s tendency toward entropy.

Shakai and Kel

The Name Shakai often appears together with the Name Kel as Kel Shakai. This is the Name by which God revealed Himself and His providence to the patriarchs, as He said to Moses before visiting upon Egypt the revealed miracles of the Ten Plagues: “And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob by Kel Shakai; but by My Name Havayah, I was not known to them.”<ref name=”exodus1”>Exodus 6:3</ref> In other words, the patriarchs followed God even though they did not experience His capacity to overwhelm nature as in the Ten Plagues.

The sum of these two names together is 345 = 314 File:Plus.gif 31, the value of Moses’ name.

This implies that God revealed Himself to the patriarchs enclothed in the spiritual soul root of Moses, who was destined to redeem their children from exile and bestow upon them God’s ultimate gift, the Torah.

Shakai and Pi

In Kabbalah (see the beginning of the Gra’s commentary on Sefer Yetzirah), the secret of the continuum of concealed miracles enclothed within nature relates to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (commonly referred to as pi).

The sages usually approximate pi as 3. The juxtaposition of (the numerical values of) God’s two Names Kel Shakai (seen to follow the number 3) alludes to the only true way to represent the “transcendent number” pi (a concealed miracle of number theory), namely as an infinite progression whose limit is pi: 3, 3.1 (Kel ), 3.14 (Shakai)… (we here see that the power to limit, inherent in the Name Shakai, also implies the ability to reach the finite limit of a process which can only be represented as an infinite progression of finite terms).<ref name=”pi”>See in length in our article, “The Story of Pi: part 1” and “part 2.”</ref>

Shakai and the patriarchs

Under the Atbash transformation, the Name Shakai becomes בקם. These three letters are the three final letters of the names of the patriarchs:

  • Abraham’s final letter is ם
  • Isaac’s final letter is ק
  • Jacob’s final letter is ב

God embodied the power of His Name (Almighty) in the seal, i.e., the final letters of the Patriarchs. The seal represents the sefirah of foundation, which is referred to as God’s “seal of truth.”

The common seal of the three patriarchs is the soul of Joseph the tzadik (Jacob’s son). Joseph is considered an embodiment of Jacob’s spiritual power to give birth to all rectified children, the tribes of Israel and all their progeny forever. Joseph is also the archetypal soul of foundation.

The At-bash transformation of Shakai is the final letters of the patriarch’s names in reverse chronological order (from Jacob to Abraham). This alludes to a verse in which the patriarchs are listed in reverse chronological order, “And I shall remember for you My covenant with Jacob, and even My covenant with Isaac, and even My covenant with Abraham I shall remember, and I shall remember the land.”<ref name=”leviticus1”>Leviticus 26:42</ref> This verse appears at the conclusion of the curses in the book of Leviticus. Not only is this verse a promise of the ultimate good and blessing destined for the Jewish people (in the merit of the patriarchs and God’s covenant with them), but it also serves to sweeten all of the proceeding curses by revealing that in truth they are all concealed blessings.

This is the power of the true tzadik, the power of yesod and the Name Shakai, the power to transform apparent curse to revealed blessing. This is God’s saying to the created realm (which appears to be far removed from Him), the apparent curse of this “world of deceit”–“enough!” This is the revelation of the continuum of the concealed miracles within nature and the manifestation of God’s Divinity being sufficient for each and every of His creatures.

Shakai’s filling

The filling of Shakai is שין דלת יוד, whose gematria is 814. which = 314 (Shakai) plus 500 (its “pregnant” part). 500 = pru urevu, “be fruitful and multiply,” the first “great” commandment of the Torah, the commandment of yesod, given to Adam on the day of his creation, the sixth day, which corresponds to the sefirah of yesod.

814 = 22 times 37. The sefirah of yesod is referred to as the ot, “sign” or “letter” (the sign of the Divine covenant in the flesh of man is called the ot brit kodesh, “the holy sign of the covenant”). It contains the potential of all the 22 powers inherent in the 22 letters of the alef-beit (just as the 22 independent chromosomes in the seed of man [the 23rd uniting with that of the opposite sex to determine the sex of the offspring]), all of which derive from the amorphous “vapor” (hevel = 37) of creation, as explained in Kabbalah.