Printed from
The 3 verses of 24 letters each refer in sequence to the divine attributes of chesed, gevura, and tiferet.

72 'Names' of G-d

72 'Names' of G-d

72 'Names' of G-d
The 3 verses of 24 letters each refer in sequence to the divine attributes of chesed, gevura, and tiferet.
The 72 triplets become 72 "names" of G‑d.

The three consecutive verses from Exodus 14:19-21 each contain 72 letters, an obviously rare phenomenon. The letters of these three verses can be arranged as 72 triplets of letters. But we are taught in Kabbala that if we reverse the order of the letters in the middle set, the 72 triplets become 72 "names" of G‑d.

In the story of the exodus from Egypt, three consecutive verses describe G‑d's power as manifest just before He split the Sea of Reeds, which the Jewish people passed through on dry land while the Egyptians were drowned:

"And the angel of G‑d who had been going ahead of the camp of Israel now moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud went from in front of them and stood behind them. Thus [the pillar of cloud] came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, making it cloud and darkness [to the Egyptians], but it gave light by night [to the Jews], so that the one came not near the other all the night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and G‑d drove the sea back with a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land; thus the waters were divided." (Ex. 14:14)

A name is a means by which one is made known to others.

In Hebrew, these three verses each contain 72 letters. In the Zohar (II:51b) it is stated that these three verses refer in sequence to the divine attributes of chesed, gevura, and tiferet. The harmonious blending of these three principle emotive attributes forms the basic paradigm of how G‑d relates to the world. Thus, they together form a composite name of G‑d, since a name is a means by which one is made known to others, i.e. manifests his attributes.

The fact that each verse contains 72 letters means that they can be aligned in parallel, forming 72 triplets of letters. In this configuration, the Zohar states, the first verse is to be written in its proper order, since it represents G‑d's loving-kindness, or a direct revelation of G‑d's goodness. The second verse is to be written in reverse order, from the last letter to the first, since it represents G‑d's severity, which is an indirect revelation of His goodness. Although tiferet is a blend of both chesed and gevura, the third verse is not to be written half in the proper order and half in reverse order, as one might expect. There are two reasons for this: (1) in tiferet, chesed dominates over gevura, and (2) as the ideal blend of chesed and gevura, tiferet is a direct revelation of G‑d's goodness and glory rather than an indirect one.

(This array may be seen inter alia in the standard editions of the Zohar, volume 2, p. 270a.)

Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, writer, editor and anthologist, living in Jerusalem. He has recently produced two monumental works: "Apples from the Orchard: Arizal on the Weekly Torah" and a Chumash translation with commentary based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Kehot).
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining
Debbie Mattson September 13, 2017

is correct spelling yod hey or hey yod for the name of G-d? Reply

george June 14, 2017

Where in the Zohar? I own a 23 volume set of the Zohar and I would like to know in which title or titles of the Zohar is the info about the 72 names written. please let me know, your help will be very much appreciated. thanks. Reply

pan d'ora el prado January 29, 2015

EXODUS in English BUT the 72 names are in the SHEMA!
In the Shema Israel there are 248 words. These 248 words connect to each of the 248 parts of the body & soul as well as the 248 positive Mitzvot.
1st 12 words: G-d's Unity has 2 levels: The Zohar describes the 1st 6 words of the Shema as the "Upper level Unity", and the 2nd 6 words as the "Lower level Unity".
Our Sages have taught that the first 42 words starting with "Ve'ahavta" unify with the 42 letter Name of God referred to as the Ana Bekoach.
The next section has 72 words and unify on a one to one relationship with the 72 Names of God from portion beshalach & splitting of the reed sea.
The third section has 50 words and connect to the Sephira of Binah.
The last 72 words connect to the 72 Names from the Tzadikim.
So, when we say the shema we are connecting to hashem (G-D) on many levels, including the 72 names from this 3 line verse.
There is so much to learn and I am thankful for KabbalaOnline website, Chabad and other websites as well as my teachers. Love to all Reply

Anonymous Cary, Nc/ USA via March 25, 2014

Shalom Shalom,
May G-d bless you all for teaching kosher Kabbalah and kosher judaism. Amen
I just wanted to share with you my sad experience with Kabbalah center, before I learn about your kosher authentic Kabbalah site. I purchased 23 large books of holy Zohar
along with red string and some of their books,
and sent them most of my saving for I was in very distressful situation and I was thinking the center and its false teachings was my cure. If I was wise as today then I had to believe in repentance, prayer( siddur and tehillim) and charity to kosher places may remove the evil of the decree. I think praying song of sea is much better than meditating on this cart which is part of teaching of Kabbalah center, too. I removed all their books and materials which I purchased from the Kabbalah center out if my home, and I repented and started praying tehillim and siddur more for my personal distresses.
we should be aware that meditating on this chart does not replace praying to G-d.
Shalom to you Reply

Anonymous Australia January 29, 2014

72 names of G-d and the 7 year cycle I recently read the Sefer Yetzirah. I noted that something the Sefer does is to take the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and pair all the letters to create 231 gates of knowledge. For the mathematically minded to calculate the number of pairs if you start with X singles then no. of pairs = (x-1) x (x/2) 21 x 11 =231. I then thought of the 72 names and it occurred to me that one name has 22 letters (as does the alphabet) and one name has 33 letters (7 x 33 = 231). So I thought what would happen if I was to pair the 72 names as in the Sefer. There are 2556 pairs. This happens to be 7 x 365.14. If the 2556 were days then this would about as close to 7 years as you can get. The 7 year cycle was central to ancient Israel's culture...economically, agriculturely etc. It seems that the 72 names are woven into the cycle of Jewish life. My question is have I stumbled across something real or is this simply random noise that is appearing to be order. I am not Jewish I should add. Reply

Carol Boyce Alabama November 2, 2013

43 name of G-d Can you explain to me why someone would take on the 43 name of G-d as their last name. In my familytree out of France, I noticed that this was on a reletives name during the middle 1500's. Could you please clarify what this could mean? Reply

Mescha October 17, 2012

Names of G-dliness My husband is meditating on the name visually and audibly.
Is this appropriate? Can we speak the name to heal? Is it our place?
It's quite a trip! Reply

Yedidyah Obiajulu Oba Nigeria, Asaba via August 21, 2011

72 powers of G-d how do the kabbalists use them 2 create reality. Thank you for your elaborate exposition of the 72 powers of G-d. However, Is it correct still do know that of each of those Holy Names, a suffix [of a short nmae of G-d] is added? Also, to what directions & manners are the Names used to create Reality? Reply

M. Goldstein Palatine, IL February 15, 2011

72 names of G-d Can you tell me what the 72 names of G-d are in this chart? Do the triple letters have a specific meaning. For instance, we know that he is
Our Healer, Our Provider, Our Banner, etc. Thank you, Reply

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.