Gevurah is the sixth of the Sefirot. It is the attribute of judgment, which implies/includes measurement and restriction As with all of the Sefirot, they are to be considered ‘neutral’ and part of what makes creation function properly. It is a necessary force, in that without limitation, things can be taken to excess. (I.e., a person deficient in Gevurah, will have trouble saying “No” to things.)
Terms that Gevurah is associated with include: Judgment, Tsimtsum, Power, Severity, Fear of God, the left arm of God, the color red, “form,” the names ELOHIM, YAH, EL GIBBOR, associated with Isaac. Other names for the Sefirah found in kabbalistic texts are “Din” as well as “Pachad” which carries the meaning of ‘fear.’
Although the left side of the Tree of Life is considered the ‘side of form’ (or restriction), it is the emanation of Gevurah that is specifically associated with the idea of strict judgment. It is considered the “source of evil” and not Binah, the latter being the “mother” of the side of restriction. Binah allows for the potential of “evil” by creating the concept of differentiation and “choice.”
The first act of Gevurah was done by G-d Himself in order for Creation to exist. The name “Elohim” is the one used in the creation account of Genesis (chapter 1) as Elohim is the name of G-d used with the aspect of judgment/restriction.
Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Smith functions in the role of pure judgment – Gevurah. By the end of the last movie, he has this as his sole purpose and Neo is the only one that can stop him:
Neo: The program Smith has grown beyond your control. Soon he will spread through this city, as he spread through the matrix. You cannot stop him. But I can.
What is interesting is that Smith, functioning from the left side, is ultimately not opposed by Morpheus who functions primarily from Chesed on the right side, but from Neo, who has reached the level of Tiferet along the middle pillar.
This corresponds to how the Zohar explains these relationships:
The distinction between right and left in the Zohar corresponds, not only to the distinction between reward and punishment in the next world, but also between good and evil, and specifically moral good and evil in this world. Samael, the power of evil, the tempter, the accuser, the evil Serpent, is placed on the left and is identified with the grade Geburah. Now Samael is represented as the opponent not of Hesed but of Tifereth. He is the Great Dragon, who on New Year swallows the Moon, that is, prevents the union of the Matrona with the Holy King, until Israel by their sacrifice on the Day of Atonement induce him to desist. – Soncino Zohar Appendix III
In the Matrix, Wisdom (the Father) and Understanding (the Mother) are those sophisticated programs that created the Matrix.
As we are told:
The Architect: “If I am the father of the Matrix, she (the Oracle) would undoubtedly be its mother.”
Chokmah and Binah are respectively the father and mother of the left and right sides of the Tree of Life. The other Sefirot on each side ‘derive’ from them.
Zohar, Shemoth 64b – From the side of the “Mother” (Binah) comes “Strength” (Gevurah), as R. Eleazar has said, that although the Supernal Mother does not in Herself signify judgment, yet judgment issues from Her side, since Geburah emanates from her.
The above citation from the Zohar explains one of the more curious dialogs found in the Matrix movies.
Oracle: You are a bastard.
Smith: You would know, Mom.
As the Zohar explains, Judgment (Smith) issues from (is the ‘son’ of) the Supernal Mother (the Oracle).
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh explains the Sefirah of Gevurah as:
“… the force which measures and assesses the worthiness of Creation. Gevurah is also referred to in Kabbalah asmidat hadin (“the attribute of judgment”).” (1)
In the first movie, Smith fulfills this role of ‘assessing’ Neo, who (like King David) was ‘no angel’ before he embarked on the path. As Smith pointed out in their initial ‘interrogation’ scene, Neo was “guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for.” He could have been another “Esau,” which is what Smith entices him with.
In this way he fulfills both the roles of ‘accuser’ and ‘tempter,’ associated with the figure of haSatan.
Agent Smith expresses his role as “assessor” and “harsh judge” in this scene:
Smith: Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization.
… I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I’ve somehow been infected by it.
As “pure judgment,” Smith is the concentration of power that is solely focused on destruction – be it the annihilation of humans, Zion, the Matrix – even the computer world itself. This is his “purpose” (as he himself referred to it.)
As his “Mom” explains:
Oracle: We are all here to do what we are all here to do.
As mentioned earlier, one of the subtle visual clues given to us is found at the beginning of the second movie, where Agent Smith arrives in a car that has a license plate which reads, “IS 54 16” – a direct reference to this verse:
Isaiah 54:16 – “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”
(1) Basics in Kabbalah: Gevurah, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, www.inner.org/sefirot/sefgevur.htm