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Kabbalah/Translation of the word Light in Kabbalah


Hello Bob

please could you tell me what the word 'Light'  in the spiritual/ mystical sense is in Hebrew, and how its written?

Thanks so much

Hi Tarryn,

An excellent question. In terms of the metaphysical aspect of the primordial light; the key word is "Aur/Ohr [אור; Aleph-Vav-Resh; gematria 207]."

It is the third Hebrew word in the triad of En-Sof-Aur which symbolizes "the Unlimited Light emanating from the No-Thing-Without End" or "The Infinite Light Without End."

Please notice that the concept of "Aur/Ohr" is symbolizing a form of light that is incomprehensible. It does not coincide with the English definition of the word.

To begin with, the notion of "primordial light" is represented by the word "Aur/Ohr," which is a highly speculative concept. It was invented by the 12th Century Kabbalists to explain the unmanifest nature of the Godhead before the universe was "created." Similarly, a child may ask, "What existed before the universe? ...and of course the answer is: no one knows. Therefore, the use of the word "Aur/Ohr," as well as the full Kabbalistic term, "En-Sof-Aur" is just another way of saying, "we don't know what was happening before 'In the beginning," however; we're theorizing that some type of eternal energy/intelligence/ceaseless motion/abstract space etc. was moving through a pre-cosmic process that resulted in the creation of a new universe.

Now, in terms of the mystical implications; the symbolism of "Aur" is understood as the third part of the triad of "En-Sof-Aur." In the same way that Yod-Hey-Vav symbolizes the first 3 letters of the Tetragrammaton, there is a mystical pattern - "above" - which reveals itself as: 1] pre-cosmic spirit, 2] pre-cosmic matter, and 3]pre-cosmic mind/intelligence. Correspondingly, this pattern is found - "below" - in the mystical teaching of the soul as: 1] Yechidah, 2] Chiah, and 3)Neshamah.

Interestingly, you'll also find in the Vedanta teachings that the infinite, eternal Brahman manifests as Atman, which is defined as the "animating/vivifying principle of spirit/life in the universe." Thus, there is a similarity to be found between Atman in Vedanta and Yechidah in Kabbalah.

Thank you for asking such a thoughtful question on this topic. The word "Aur/Ohr" represents a fascinating Kabbalistic hypothesis that goes right to the heart of universal mysticism.  


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Robert Waxman, Ph.D.


Please ask any questions that are relevant to Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism. Other topics to inquire about include: science and Kabbalah, parallel universes, reincarnation, after-death states, cosmology, numerology (gematria), hidden meanings of the Bible, the eternal validity of the soul, Plato, and Kabbalah, Vedanta and Kabbalah, and the meaning of life according to Kabbalah.


Author of "Kabbalah Simply Stated" published by Paragon House Publishers and distributed in 12 countries. Other books: "2012: The Meaning and The Message", "Seven Fundamental Propositions of Esoteric Philosphy" and "The Power of AWE!". Studied Kabbalah with Rabbi Azriel Abraham of Jerusalem from 1985 - 1998 and have been teaching Kabbalah and other subjects since 1998. Classes include: Kabbalah According To The Scholars, (Scholem, Kaplan, Tishby & Idel), Comparative Spirituality, Latest Research on the Near Death Experience (NDE), Spirtually Transformative Experiences & Cognitive Dissonance, Common Threads of Wisdom in Religion, Science, and Consciousness Studies. Thousands have attended these classes over the years. Additionally, on-going classes are given all year round along with guest speaking presentations at a wide variety of religious and philosophical organizations.

Founding Member and guest speaker at The Open Center in Sarasota, FL. International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Longboat Key Education Center Unity Life Enrichment Center American Seminar Leader's Association

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Ph.D. from Saybrook University; Master's Degree from Skidmore College with a concentration in Comparative Religion; (2) B.A.'s from The American University. Additional courses in Philosophy at Columbia University.

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