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The 72 Names of Hashem

The contemporary study of Kabbalah is divided into two: Kabbalat HaRishonim and Kabbalat Acharonim. The latest start from the Arizal and onwards, before the Arizal was the Ramak who marked the end of the Kabbalat Harishonim. The rabbis from the Kabbalat Harishonim were very focused on the meditations of the 72 names of Hashem. 


One of the greatest exponents of this branch was Rabbi Abraham Abulafia. He was focuses on very deep meditations of the 72 names of Hashem through the visualization of the Hebrew letters. By mixing the letters into different combinations, the person comes into a meditative state of being. 


Rabbi Abulafia explains that through the meditation of Hashem’s names there is a way to receive prophecy. According to Rabbi Shepherd, prophecy is spiritual abundance at a certain point in time and space with a specific purpose. There is a simple meditation of the 72 names of Hashem. Combining the 72 names with the Kriat Shema. The first paragraph has 42 words that correspond to the Ana Bekoach, the second and third paragraph are different combinations of the names of Hashem. 


Most of the people are unable to meditate this names because of the time and the need to get to the Amida with the congregation. Rabbi Shepherd’s suggestion is tu take advantage of the Kriat Shema Alamita (recitation of the Shema before going to sleep) to practice in order to become more fluent.  Parallel to the meditation, the time before sleeping it is crucial to focus the thoughts on kedusha so that the soul be able to ascend to higher realms when sleeping. 


The kabbalistic siddurim have the combinations of the names of Hashem with the Kriat Shema. The way of performing the meditation is: 

  1. Relax in a quiete environment
  2. When saying each word of the Shema visualize the corresponding name of Hashem without saying it out loud. 

The person who becomes constant and dedicated in the practice of this meditation will see rewards. The quality of sleep time will improve, will have spiritual protection and eventually develop a deeper connection with the Creator.  

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