Legally Binding Brilliance To Reality

אמר ר’ נחוניא בן הקנה כתוב אחד אומר
Bahir line 1

In R’ Aryeh Kaplan’s translation of Sefer HaBahir, the word כתוב in kav 1 is translated as verse. Typically, the word for verse in hebrew is pasuk פסוק, not katuv כתוב which literally means “written”.

One reason for this may be that פס, the 2-letter root [1] of the word pasuk, also gives rise to the shoresh [2] פסל meaning idol.

In contradistinction, the 2-letter root כת of the word katuv also gives rise to the shoresh כתר of the word keter, significant itself to the message and dynamic hidden in first kav of Sefer HaBahir as previously discussed.

Moreover, the shoresh כתב of katuv means to “record”, to “write” and a “written document”. For example, a marriage contract is called a ketubah כתובה, where ketubah is derived from the same shoresh as katuv.

Consequently, we can see that the odd word in kav 1, translated by Kaplan as “verse”, avoids any association with idolatry while it simultaneously embraces an association with the writing of a legally binding document to bind brilliance to reality. In other words, the light being brought into created reality is being legally bound to reality through the use of the word katuv (as opposed to using the word pasuk).

The use of katuv is quite fitting, given that also in kav 1 of Sefer HaBahir, the actualized yichud of zer anpin and nukvah is also brought down as a described in a previous post. The yichud of zer anpin and nukvah is a consummating act of marriage.


[1] a 2-letter root is called a gate (sha’ar), Sefer Yetzirah
[2] a 3-letter root is called a root (shoresh)


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