The Zohar, Chapter “BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent),” Item 36: When that deed [the sin of the golden calf] was done, it caused death; it caused the enslavement of the Malchuts; it caused the shattering of the first tablets, and caused several thousand [people] of Israel to die. All of it was because of the bonding with the mixed multitude that bonded with them.
Question: Who are these “thousands” that died in me?
Answer: These thousands are spiritual degrees. The ones are Malchut (Kingdom); the tens are Zeir Anpin (Small Face); the hundreds are Bina (Intelligence); the thousands (are Hochma (Wisdom); and the ten thousands are Arich Anpin (Long Face). Hence, when Zeir Anpin (6 x 10 individual Sefirot = 60) ascends to Arich Anpin, it multiplies in its power by 10,000 (Ribo). Therefore, it is written: “60 Ribo” (60 x 10,000) or “600,000 souls.” If it is written “100,000,” it means that the complete spiritual rung 100 ascended to the level of Hochma (1000 is Hochma). If it is written “500,” it is also a complete rung 5 which ascended to Bina (100 is Bina).
In other words, ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands are the spiritual steps, their might. Every time you ascend, your rung is multiplied by 10.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/20/10, The Zohar