Welcome to Section Two of Chapter One of the Sefer Yetzirah! It must be mentioned that different editions and translations of this book include slightly different material, and different divisions, so this writer has sought to attain a happy medium.
Ten is the Number of the Sefiroth out of Nothingness, Ten and not Nine, Ten and not Eleven, according to the enumeration of the Ten fingers and Ten toes, which are Five against Five. The single Covenant with Abraham is to be determined in the Center. Comprehend this great Wisdom, Understand this Knowledge, inquire into it, ponder on it, render it evident and follow the Creator back to the Holy Throne. Inquire into the Mystery and ponder it, and examine all things by means of the Ten Sefiroth. In word and tongue and mouth, they are Powerful in Ten Ways: the Power of the Beginning, the Power of the End, the Power of Good, the Power of Evil, the Power Above, the Power Below, the Power of the East, the Power of the West, the Power of the North and the Power of the South. The Sole Master, the lofty Monarch, rules them all faithfully from the Holy Throne in Eternity forever.
The author is ambitiously proposing that the Number Ten predominates in the Universe, and is reflected in the human form. The “Covenant of Abraham” is physical circumcision, of course, but also, the contracted agreement between YHVH and Abraham. The rest of this Section refers to the Tree of Life. “Wisdom” is Chokhmah, the Second Sefirah, and “Understanding” is Binah, the third Sefirah. “Knowledge” is Da’ath, the mysterious “hidden” Sefirah that bridges across the Abyss. The “Powers” also refer to the Ten Sefiroth. There exist differing opinions among commentaries, as to which Power is which Sefirah, so we will not deal with them here. It is important to note the referent to YHVH as the Sole Creator. God descends the Tree of Life, and we must ascend the Tree to become One with God. Another, more Metaphysical interpretation, is that the Tree of Life, and YHVH, can both be found within us. These two interpretations, however, are by no means mutually exclusive.