Kether (Keter) – Crown Sephirah in the Kabbalah Tree of Life
The Sephirot that make up the kabbalistic Tree of Life are Keter, Hochmah, Binah, Hesed, Gevurah, Tipheret, Hod, Netzach, and Yesod. Keter (also spelled Kether) is the highest and most encompassing Sefirah. As a crown is on top of the head and encompasses it, so Kether is on top of all the Sefirot and encompasses them all.1
Keter is related to the Divine Will of the Creator. It contains within it the ultimate goal of the creation2.
Rooted in the Infinite
Above or beyond the kabbalistic Tree of Life is the Divine nature of the Creator, which is called Eyn Sof, סוף אין ‘without end’, implying the perfection and limitlessness of the Creator, existing beyond all limitations of time and space. Below the Sephirot is physical existence, which comes forth from the Sephirot. As such, the Tree of the Sefirot is considered the link between the two, stretching between heaven and earth5.
The head of Kether is rooted above the Sefirot in Ein Sof, the Divine nature of the Creator. Because of this Keter is so lofty that it is incomprehensible to man and is called “the most hidden of all hidden things”3 and it is referred to as “Ayin” אין4, nothing. It is called “nothing” because it is so sublime and concealed that nothing can be said or postulated of it.
Everything that Was, Is, and Will Be
In Adam and the Kabbalistic Tree, Kether is explained as follows: “At the moment of manifestation, the Will of the absolute is signified by a dimensionless point of light, coming out of the veil of negative existence. A Crown is the kabbalistic symbol to describe that dimensionless point between manifest and unmanifest. Such a crown is hollow and through its center passes everything that is to come into being – everything that was, is and will be.”5
Will of the Creator
Keter is related to the Divine Will of the Creator. In a human being, the will is the most encompassing power of the soul, since it initiates and gives rise to all the other powers. If the will is there, the person will organize his or her mental powers, feelings, and actions to reach the end desire. The will drives the person until they accomplish what they set out to do. Similarly, the will of the Creator in creating the creation, hidden though it may be, drives all of manifest existence until it is fulfilled.
Keter is also absolute compassion – the Creator represents absolute perfection and due to its proximity to the Creator, no flaw can exist in this sefirah. Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (the Ramak) stated that it is the source of the 13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy.
Soul Level of Kether
The level of the soul called the Yechida is understood as emanating from the Sephirah of Keter. This is a level of the soul that, similar to the Sephirah of Kether, is too lofty to be understand or talked about.
Tomer Devorah Introduction, quoting (Zohar, vol. I, p. 147a; Pardes, sha’ar 5, ch.4)
Tomer Devorah Introduction, quoting (Zohar, vol. III, p. 256b)
Adam and the Kabbalistic Tree, Z’ev Ben Shimon HaLevi, 1989