In this painting ALL 22 of the Hebrew letters are represented, but the letter featured is the Samech.
SAMECH is the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 60. It makes a sound like the S in Sun. SAMECH is shaped like a circle and means SUPPORT, TO TRUST, TO RELY ON.
Tradition tells us that the engraving of the letters of the 10 commandments went all the way through the tablets from the front side to the back side. Therefore the Samech, since it is completely closed, should have fallen out. Because it did not, R. Hisda said that it stood there be means of a miracle Shabbat 104a).
U-kethabtam: it must be kethibah tammah [perfect writing]; thus one must not write the
Mem as a Samech or the Samech as a Mem, closed [letters] open or open letters closed (Shabbat 104a).
Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. divides the Hebrew Letters into 3 categories: 3 mothers Aleph Mem Shin , 7 doubles Beit Gimel Dalet Caf Pey Resh Tav and 12 elementals Hey Vav Zayin Chet Tet Yud Lamed Nun Samech Ayin Tsade Kuf.
According to Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation., God created the world by means of these letters. Samech is one of the Elementals. Twelve Elementals
their foundation is [that] He engraved them, and transformed them, and with them He formed 12 constellations in the Universe, 12 months in the Year and 12 directions in the soul, male and female. And God made the letter Samech king over SLEEP. And He bound a crown to it, and He combined one with another and with them He formed Sagittarius in the Universe, Kislev in the Year, and Kivah in the Soul, male and female (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1990. Tr. Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 5, 197, 209, 217).
In this painting ALL 22 of the Hebrew letters are represented.
The Rabbis of the Talmud regarded the letters as the basic elements of the universe, much as we think of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz, author of The Seventh Telling, The Thiry-third Hour, and The Curse of Blessings).
The story of ET...
Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, and a follower of the Baal Shem Tov, explains in Or Torah the secret of the verse Bereshit Bara Eloheim Et - IN A BEGINNING GOD CREATED ET. These are the first words of Torah - Genesis 1:1 - in a beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ET is a word that is not translatable into English. It is like a marker that says - "a definite direct object is next." Thus there needs to be an ET before THE heavens and THE earth. If there was no the, there would not need to be an ET. But Dov Ber points out a deeper meaning. ET is spelled - Aleph Tav. And Aleph Tavis an abbreviation for the ALPHA-BET. Alephis the first letter of the ALPHABET and Tavthe last. So in a beginning God created the ALPHA-BET. And God did this before creating the heavens and the earth. God used the letters, the building blocks, to create the world.
R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe of Chabad explains that if the letters were to depart even for an instant, all of creation would become absolute nothingness (Zalman, Shneur. 1981. "Igeret Hateshuvah." Shaar Hayichud. Tanya. Brooklyn: Kihot. 289).
Some of you may read these words and laugh. Silly stories. But I challenge you to spend 5 minutes a day thinking about the letters. Perhaps you could practice drawing one letter for about a minute and then think about it of 4 minutes. See if you can do this every day for a few weeks. And watch what happens. They letters are ALIVE.
This work is accompanied by the kabbalistic explanation printed above.
The original 9x12 watercolor painting of this image is available.
mat color:: green