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Rav Menachem Mendel Mivitebsk wrote in Peri Hart's Bechukotay that the 10 words from which the world is created are linked to 10 occurrences of the word of G-d in Bereshit and there are the 10 sefirot. And from the sefirot, the world reach the midot.

העניין שהעשרה מאמרות הם עשר ספירות, והשתלשלות הראשון עד שמגיע לכלל המדות

I roughly understand what are sefirot, but I don't know what are midot. I know the expressions midat hadin, harachamin, 13 midot of Rachamim. They seem to be a feeling of behavior of divinity in the world. What is the link between sefirot and midot. There are names of sefirot like chesed, similar to the name of midat harachamin, or gevura similar to din. But it's not clear. Can someone explain this.

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  • In this context, I would assume middot means the six sefirot from chesed to yesod rather than the 13 middot, but I don't know what he means here – b a May 18 '20 at 12:12
  • Maybe sefirot Adam kadmon are called here sefirot, and the next sefirot are midot – kouty May 20 '20 at 20:27
  • Maybe not what you meant, but you should learn Nahar Shalom on Etz Chaim pages 41-44, drushei hadaat and related. – srm Jun 8 '20 at 13:39
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The concept of Midah is the concept of constriction and specificity, as described by Rebbe Nachman in Likutei Moharan 56:3. This, as a concept, is linked to the concept of Sefirah, which is tied to the principle of Tzimtzum of the Ohr Ein Sof. Indeed, in the Tomer Devorah the RaMaK refers to each of the Sefiros as "Midah." Based on this we can essentially equate the two terms, at least in the context of R' Menachem Mendel MiVetebsk.

That being said, the the 13 Midos of Rachamim in particular is referred to by the RaMaK in Tomer Devorah as "the actions of the Crown (Kesser), which are the thirteen highest traits of mercy." So with regard to the 13 Attributes of Mercy in particular, there seems to be a connection between them and Kesser specifically.

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  • +1 I was thinking now, before I open the web, that perhaps the midot are the 10 sfirot kelulot in sefirat malchut, which is the hanhaga with din and Rachamim, this is indeed more tsimtsum than previous sefirot. – kouty May 19 '20 at 21:56
  • @kouty In a broader sense the midos are the seven lower sefiros, AKA the zu"n, as opposed to the upper three sefiros, which are known as the mochin. Based on the usage of Rav Menachem Mendel Mivitebsk, however, in this instance it sounds like it is a general reference to tzimtzum. – Yehuda Jun 15 '20 at 17:58
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From the context, and following the general sense of the text, I understand that the Midot are some degree of perception of the intervention of G-d in the world. They describe the behavior of G-d from the bottom up point of view. When the text talk about sefirot, it describes the top down process leading to the materiality of the creation. And may be that we pray to reach this perception in several prayers, like Shmone Esre.

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