Partsuf – Configuration


The light of G-od is of a perfect unicity, without any variables or difference. Once this energy enters a particular Sephira, its outcome or effect is transformed into a particular force or attribute by which the Creator guides the worlds. A Partsuf is a configuration of one or more Sephirot acting in coordination. Partsuf in Aramaic means face, visage or countenance. A face is composed of many and various elements as eyes, nose, mouth, forehead and so on, but all are coordinated as one single unit. A face is also unique; it shows the particular identity of a person and is the main vehicle of communication.

Some Partsufim – configurations are masculine and bestow kindness, while others are feminine and bestow rigor. The masculine corresponds to kindness – ‘Hesed and is of the aspect of the name of MaH (45). The feminine corresponds to rigor – Gevurah and is of the aspect of the name of BaN (52). By their unions, different equilibriums of these two forces (Kindness and rigor), make the guidance. Complete rigor would be the destruction of anything not perfect, while complete kindness would permit everything without restrictions. However, these two aspects are necessary for the guidance of justice, and to give man the possibility of free choice.

The Partsufim – configurations are in a constant state of action, illuminations and inter-relations between them. This dynamism of exchange and influence of energies is called Tikunim of the Partsufim. These Tikunim result in various illuminations of different intensities, depending on time and the actions of man. They translate the upper will into particular influences and effects, for the guidance of the worlds.

The construction of a Partsuf – configuration is achieved by way of a Zivug (union) of two higher masculine and feminine Partsufim, followed by a period called gestation inside the higher feminine configuration, and birth, when it is revealed. There is afterwards the suckling, where it is nursing energies from the higher Partsufim, and finally the growth when it is now fully independent.

There are five main Partsufim – configurations:

  • Arikh Anpin – :Long countenance
  • Abah – Father
  • Imah – Mother
  • Zeir Anpin – Small countenance
  • Nukva – Feminine

And one above them: ‘Atik Yomin (clothed inside Arikh Anpin).

See also “Guidance” under Kabbalah Studies