SEFIRAH OF THE WEEK – YESOD
The Light of Foundation and Righteousness
Yesod translates as foundation and corresponds to the male productive organ. Explaining this connection, the Kabbalah refers to Yesod as Chai Olamim (Life of the Worlds) (zohar 1, 193b). Life—because Yesod serves the very essence and purpose of life, and also because it is said to be “alive” (that is, instrumental in bringing forth life). Worlds—because Yesod sparks the interaction between the Upper Worlds and this world (which is represented by Malkhut, the Sefirah below it). Like the sexual act that gathers and channels all the male’s energies into union with the female, Yesod pools the energies of all the preceding Sefirot and channels them into Malkhut, culminating in the realization of our desires, efforts, struggles and successes.
Kabbalistically, the energies which Yesod collects and transfers are called Light. God interacts with the world, and the world with Him, through the agencies of Or Yashar (Direct Light) and Or Chozer (Reflected Light). As the ARI explains, God sends us His direct bounty to sustain us and allow us to live and perform good deeds. Reciprocally, our good deeds bring God a certain pleasure. Like a loving parent, God rejoices when His children “grow up” and become capable of emulating Him. This is the nachat (pleasure) He receives from all the mitzvot that we do. When we strive to emulate God, it is considered as if we are giving something back to Him.
Yesod is the relay station for these two types of Light. In one direction, this Sefirah gathers the energy and bounty from the Sefirot above it and transfers them to Malkhut, from where they are channeled to this world. In the other direction, it receives from Malkhut the offerings of God’s creations and sends them back Above. (Malkhut is therefore said to be the “mate” of Yesod.)
Yesod represents one of the greatest human pleasures that exists, touching the deepest levels of the psyche. Pleasure can be either good or evil, as it can lead one in either direction. Our personal level of Yesod can indeed be one of holiness and propel us to search for ever greater levels of Godliness, or it can be redirected into mindless sexual pursuits that lead us away from spirituality.
The Zohar teaches that the person who is very moral deserves the accolade of Tzaddik (Zohar 1, 59b). Yesod is also connected to the Tzaddik in the verse (Proverbs 10:25), “The Tzaddik is the yesod (foundation) of the world.” The Tzaddik represents the highest levels of moral purity, through which he helps to keep the world morally righteous, teach others about God, and bring God’s message to mankind. The energy of Yesod elevates him beyond his material desires to the point that he attains his goals and, in so doing, brings joy and pleasure to God.
This Sefirah can help us develop our potential depending on the degree to which we embrace moral values. Like the foundation upon which every building stands, morals are the foundation upon which stand all that we strive to build and accomplish in life. If our morals are upright, our building will stand tall and proud. If our values are corrupt, our life’s building will be crooked and marked with blemish.
Taken from Hidden Treasures, By Chaim Kramer
© Copyright 2009 Breslov Research Institute