Shefa (a.k.a. Divine Flow) is a Kabbalistic term introduced in the Zohar to refer to the Force that flows from Ayin through Ein Sof and down through the tree of life into Kether, i.e. physical creation.
This appears to be a Kabbalistic teaching concerning Alignment. When an individual is aligned, the shefa flows strong and unimpeded. When an individual is out of alignment, shefa is constricted/twisted.
"The mythical processes that dominate this interaction are described in the Zohar and later works as being based on one dynamic aspect of the divine world. It is usually called the shefa, the flow of divine spirituality from the extreme, highest stages in the divine world down to the lower divine powers, and then to even lower realms, those of the archangels and angels, and finally the material world and to human beings. This divine flow is the necessary sustenance of all existence, even of the divine emanations themselves. Nothing can exist without deriving spiritual power from this divine flow. When this flow is diminished, the existence of every being is weakened. The upper realm may still derive its due from this flow, but lower strata of creation are deprived and threatened. According to the Zoharic myth of the dynamic world of the sefirot, the situation is always in flux: the right side may become stronger or weaker, and at the same time the realms on the left, of evil, may become stronger. The positions of the various powers are not fixed; they may become more elevated and thus closer to the origin of the shefa, or slide lower, receiving less divine flow.
The masculine and feminine aspects of the divine world sometimes get closer to each other, thus increasing divine harmony and the flow of the shefa, or they may move apart, diminishing the divine flow. When the shefa flows in abundance, the good powers are stronger, whereas when it is diminished the powers of evil become stronger and their hold and dominance over the material world increase.
The decisive factor that determines to a very large extent the flow of this divine sustenance is, according to the Zohar, the behavior of human beings, the people of Israel. Righteous deeds of man increase the divine flow, tilting divine harmony to the right side, away from evil. Thus, any benevolent social act of charity and justice, every prayer said with devotion and proper intention, any compliance with the physical and ritualistic commandments, any avoidance of temptation and rejecting of sin and evil thoughts, enhances the divine flow. Sins, injustice, evil thoughts, unethical behavior, transgressions of the divine commands all diminish the shefa’s flow, weakening existence, strengthening the evil powers, and increasing suffering and wickedness in the created world. The proper observance of the Sabbath, for instance, brings the shekhinah and her divine husband close together, even to erotic union, which exerts the greatest positive influence over the divine flow and brings bliss and harmony to the divine and material worlds alike.".
In this schema, the "commandments" are directly referenced. One follows the commandments (a.k.a. an Alignment Rule Set) in order to increase and ensure purified flow.
- Dan, Joseph. Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Kindle Locations 770-784).
- Dan, Joseph. Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Kindle Locations 770-784). (Kindle Locations 832-851)
- Dan, Joseph. Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Kindle Locations 770-784). Emphasis added