Etz Chaim

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This article is about the Hebrew phrase and its uses. For well known particular uses in Judaism see Etz Hayim (disambiguation)

Etz Hayim, also transliterated as Etz Chaim (Hebrew Etzayyim עץ חיים, meaning "Tree of Life"), is a common term used in Judaism. The expression, originates in Genesis 2:9. It is also found in the Book of Proverbs, where it is figuratively applied to "the Torah" Proverbs 3:18, "the fruit of a righteous man" Proverbs 11:30, "a desire fulfilled" Proverbs 13:12, and "healing tongue" Proverbs 15:4.

Usage in Hebrew[edit]

Main article: Tree of life
  • The term Etz Chaim, (plural: עצי חיים Atzei Chaim), is also used to describe each of the wooden poles to which the parchment of a Sefer Torah is attached. A hymn including the words "Etz Chaim hi"("It is a tree of life") is sung in all Ashkenazi rites as the Torah is returned to the ark.[1]
  • In Kabbalah, Etz Hayim-symbol (properly "Etz Ha-Hayim: The Tree of Life") is a mystical symbol used to understand the nature of God and the manner in which He created the world. The term Etz Hayim (text) is also the title of one of the most important works in Jewish mysticism, written by Hayim Vital in the course of twenty years following the death of his master, Isaac Luria in 1572, presenting and explicating Luria's systematic reconceptualization and expansion of the insights of the Zohar and other earlier mystical sources. Vital's Etz Chaim is the foundational work for the later Lurianic Kabbalah, which soon became the mainstream form of Kabbalah amongst both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewry up to the modern period. This massive multi-volumed work circulated only in manuscript form amongst mystics for over 100 years, and was first published in 1782.

Educational institutions[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see Etz Chaim Yeshiva (disambiguation).

English Publications[edit]

  • First volume of Hayim Vital's Kabbalah Etz Hayim-text has been translated in The Tree of Life: Chayyim Vital's Introduction to the Kabbalah of Isaac Luria – The Palace of Adam Kadmon, Donald Wilder Menzi and Zwe Padeh, Jason Aronson 1999. Introduction gives overview of Lurianic system
  • Etz Hayim Humash Conservative Judaism Hebrew-English Torah commentary

See also[edit]


External links[edit]