These words mean: Mochin - brains; Yenika - nursing; Ibur - embryo.

All partzufim go through these three stages from embryo, through the nursing stage of infancy, to the stage of adulthood. These stages parallel the developmental stages in humans. In the last stage, when a child grows and matures and becomes an adult, it is said that he has developed "a mind of his own." Hence, the Arizal calls this stage "mochin", which means brains or mind.

The following chart will help to illustrate the relationships among the stages.

TABLE OF I-YaM (Ibur, Yenika, Mochin)





Names of the



Chochma Bina
Adulthood, Big
Permutations of



Chesed Gevura
Permutations of



Netzach Hod


The embryonic stage is the closest to potential

Because this chart depicts stages of development, we shall read it from the bottom to the top. Column 3 describes the basic subject of this teaching, I-YaM: Ibur-Embryo, Yenika-Nursing, Mochin-Brains/Mind.

The first stage in development, Ibur-Embryo, corresponds to the lowest three sefirot, Netzach, Hod and Yesod (column 2), whose acronym is Nahiy (column 1).

The second stage corresponds to Chesed, Gevura and Tiferet, whose acronym is Chagat.

The third stage corresponds to Chochma, Bina and Daat, whose acronym is Chabad.

On a scale going from "potential…" to "actual" the embryonic stage is the closest to "potential". In this stage the partzuf is not even visible (barely existent) since it is hidden within the womb of Imma-Mother. Even within that place it is only six sefirot, and its height is only one row of sefirot because Nahiy is curled up on top of Chagat. Furthermore, like an embryo within its mother's womb it cannot even be called an independent partzuf.

In the second stage, yenika-nursing, the partzuf has left the mother's womb, but it is still dependent upon mother. This stage is still the katnut-infancy (lit. "smallness") of the partzuf. It is still only six sefirot, but it is larger than it was beforehand. Its height is now two rows of sefirot because it has uncurled, and all six sefirot are completely visible. Therefore, it corresponds now to Chagat.

In the third stage the height of the partzuf is three rows of sefirot because the row of Chochma, Bina and Daat has been added to it. These are the mochin-brains/mind that it has received from above. Therefore, this stage is called mochin. Its complement has been completed to ten sefirot. It is now completely independent, corresponding to the stage of Gadlut-Maturity/Adulthood. In this stage the partzuf has been actualized.

When a child is an embryo or a nursling it also has a brain in a very primitive stage of development

* * * * * *

We will now explain, with the help of G‑d, columns 5 and 6. According to the Kabbala all things are composed of two aspects that are called "the light" and "the vessel". The classic example of these two terms is the body (vessel) and the soul (light, or essence).

Also, all things are made from combinations of the letters of the holy Torah. These letters are not only the spiritual genetic code of the thing, but they also give rise to the substance of the thing. In the kabbala of the Arizal the vessels and essences are depicted by combinations and permutations of the letters of the holy names of G‑d.

When a child is an embryo or a nursling it also has a brain, although its brain is in a very early and primitive stage of development and it is definitely not comparable to the fully developed brain of adulthood. Thus, in the stage of katnut-infancy the names of the brains are combinations and permutations of the name Elokim. In the stage of gadlut-adulthood the names of the real brains are combinations and permutations of the four-letter Tetragrammaton.

Column 6 shows an alternative nomenclature used often for these three stages - external, middle and internal. This is consistent with the rule that all partzufim, or parts of partzufim that are higher than another one are more internal than that other one; and all partzufim or parts of partzufim that are external to another one are lower than that other one.

[Commentary by Shabtai Teicher.]