Attributes of the Seventy Nations
- Main article Seventy nations
List of the mystical attributes of each of the seventy nations.
In Rebbe Nachman's "Master of Prayer", Rebbe Nachman speaks about the "seventy nations". He relates in the story that "It is written that there was a great hurricane in the world. This hurricane turned the whole world upside-down. Sea was transformed into dry land, and dry land into sea. Desolate areas became inhabited, while inhabited areas became desolate. It threw the whole world into confusion. After this period of panic and confusion, where all the world was disoriented, the people of the world decided to elect a king. They then delved into the question as to who would be most fit to be elected king. Upon deliberation, they finally said, 'We must focus on the goal of life. The person who strives the most toward this goal is the most fit to be king.' But then they had to determine the goal of life. Regarding this question, there were many factions."
In that story each faction chose a king and a land, and became a nation. The land also had influence. Some lands had an influence that was particularly conducive to one traite, while other lands were conducive to other traits. Each group found a land which was particularly good in this respect, and settled there. This list shows the kabbalistic attributes associated with each nation and land. It is not a definitive list, and there are other opinions.
Table of Nations
|Traditional Counting||Kabbalistic Counting|
1. Gomerite Nation
61 of these nations are identicle in each list making a conflict only in the identities of the remaining 9 (or 11 if one uses the Arizal count of 72 nations) from the total listed above of 80.
- Chochmah means wisdom, insight
- Binah means comprehension, understanding
- Daat means factual knowledge
- Chesed means kindness, inclusiveness, merging
- Gevurah means strictness, limiting, definition, clarity
- Tiferet means beauty, balance, communication
- Netzach means victory, talent
- Hod means splendor, riches
- Yesod means foundation, formation, action
- Malchut means kingship, authority, final form
- shebe means "within"
Categorizing Modern Faiths
There have been many attempts to trace the traditional biblical nations in the Genesis 10-11 narrative to modern day ethnic groups. It is most likely that a credible lineage is no longer possible to achieve and that it may not be all that important. As we see in later Rabbinic literature the "seventy nations" are seen as the archetypes for distinct approaches to understanding, sometimes called "seventy paths" to G-d.
Any attempt to map the current world faiths into the framework of diversity encompassed by the above seventy attributes would be difficult and subjective. However such a mapping would allow a way to categorize modern faiths. It could be the beginning of a legal framework for analyzing the relationship of each modern faith to authentic Jewish tradition, and in this context we can perhaps begin to speak about its possible rectification.
It is obvious that the national faith of the Israelite Nation is Judaism, and Rabbinical literature has clearly stated that the Esavite Nation is associated with Christianity and the Ishmaelite Nation with Islam. Relying on definitions of these attributes from other sources in Jewish literature it can be seen that following top seven general categories appear:
- attribute shebe Chesed - Philosophical religions, Greeks & Hellenism. Religions which attempt to see the divine in everything.
- attribute shebe Gevurah - Ascetic religions. Religions which see physicality as an obstacle to the divine.
- attribute shebe Tiferet - Oratory religions. Religions which stress sermons, dogma and apologetics
- attribute shebe Netzach - Far Eastern religions. Religions stressing levels of perception and states of consciousness.
- attribute shebe Hod - Sacramental religions. Religions stress the use of sacraments and other objects for inspiration and imitation of the divine.
- attribute shebe Yesod - "Works" oriented religions. Religions stressing charity and other good works, for the pursuit of righteousness.
- attribute shebe Malchut - Formed religions. Each of the above, in a fully formed, articulated and demonstrated fashion.
If it is true that the seventy nations are related to the seventy souls that went to egypt, and the seventy "viewpoints" of the judges of the sanhedrin, it means that the seventy nations are a "rainbow" of religious viewpoints. This would imply that there might be a way to match people with the mode of faith most suited to them, such as the test provided on BeliefNet What Religion am I?
- Pesikta Zutresa; Torah Sheleimah 9:110