Kathy Bernstein, Numerologist

Why renumber the Tree of Life

As I went through the initial 4 year program at Asociety of Souls my Kabbalah school I was re-numbering the Tree of Life. Who was I to do this and simultaneously, how could I not do this? The sephirot , the different numbered qualities on The Tree of Life were speaking to me and they were numbered differently than the traditional numbering. I had a dilemma! But I was used to sitting with dilemmas as a numerologist and as someone with ADD and dyslexia!!!

In 2004 I went to hear Daniel Matt, a professor at Berkley, speak on the first two volumes of his translation of the 13th century Zohar. There were a few hundred people there in Boston. He was talking about Hokhmah one of the qualities on the Tree of Life, he tilted his head to one side and said, “Hokhmah is really number 1.” I nearly fell off my chair. Yes it’s number one. You would think I would have gone over and talked to him but it was true - Hokhmah is one, there was nothing to say.

This helped me feel more comfortable about re- numbering the Tree. Then in the middle of the night I got an idea to put a person’s numerology chart on the Tree of Life. The four Core numbers, the birthday, name, vowels and consonants and one cycle that lasted the entire life of the person. I did my chart on the Tree of Life first, Oh - there it was Me on The Tree of Life. It showed so much so simply, that isn’t visible in a numerology chart’s four pages of numbers!

After two years of putting client’s numerology charts on the Tree of Life my husband suggested that I write Daniel Matt and tell him how and why I have re-number the Tree. In 30 seconds I was talking to his wife asking if I could mail him a letter with a question. The letter went off and I had a reply. He said, “The important thing is that there are ten sefirot, not nine and not eleven. It is certainly legitimate to envision Keter as Ayin, nothingness, or nothing, since this is one of its traditional names. As you mention, there is precedent for seeing Hokhmah as beginning, so “one” would fit here. The root meaning of the word Binah suggests “discerning between,” so “two” would fit here. So 0,1,2,3 … makes sense.” He then referred me to an article he wrote Ayin: The Concept of Nothingness in Jewish Mysticism.

This made me comfortable re-numbering the Tree of Life. I believe the traditional numbering has to do with counting the sephirot. My numbering has to do with the essential nature of each sephirot and the number that corresponds to that particular quality.