Perhaps the most famous of the early Jewish mystical texts is the fifth century Sefer Yezirah (The Book of Creation). There is no attempt to describe the creative process realistically; the account is unashamedly symbolic and shows God creating the world by means of language as though he were writing a book. But language has been entirely transformed and the message of creation is no longer clear. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is given a numerical value; by combining the letters with the sacred numbers, rearranging them in endless configurations, the mystic weaned his mind away from the normal connotations of words.

Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery, you have health; when you destroy mystery, you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight.

He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency.

If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that.

Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.