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What does the Jewish tree of life symbolize?

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The Tree of Life is visually represented as three columns depicting a map of creation of the universe and man. According to Jewish Kabbalists, the Tree of Life is one of two primary trees in the Garden of Eden, the other being the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. An understanding of the Tree of Life provides a foundation to comprehending the basis of human existence and the path to union with the divine.

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In its diagrammatic form, the Tree of Life represents the process of creation of the universe. It consists of 10 spiritual principles or ‘sephirot’. The 1st sephira ‘Keter’ is placed at the top, representing the beginning of the universe and the point beyond which the understanding of human origins cannot go. Other stages of the emanation of the universe are represented moving down from the Keter sephira, including Chokmah (wisdom) and Binah (understanding). The Tree of Life describes the origins of the physical universe and man’s place in the universe. Therefore, an understanding of the Tree of Life gives man an understanding of the universe around and within him so that he can use this understanding to reach his subconscious mind, and ultimately, his higher, divine self.

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