CHOFNI is from the Hebrew, meaning HANDFUL.
Variant spellings - HOFNI - HOPHNI CHOPHNI
The letters featured in this painting are CHET VAV PEY NUN YUD. Taken together they spell CHOFNI.
Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet has a special meaning and a story to tell. Here a few brief ones about the letters on this painting.
CHET is the 8th letter of the alphabet and has a numerical value of 8. CHET is pronounced like the CH in BaCH. Kushner's description is the best that I have found of what is necessary to create the sound of CHET. It is the "top of your throat and the bottom of your throat fighting against one another" (Kushner, Lawrence. 1990. Sepher Otiot: The Book of Letters. Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing. 39).
Usually the CHET is composed of 2 ZAYINS. But the 16th century kabbalist master, Luria, stated that the CHET consists of a VAV on the right and a ZAYIN on the left. Each Hebrew letter has a numerical value. GEMATRIA is the numerical manipulation of the values of the letter to explain the meaning of a word or phrase. The combined value of the VAV (6) and ZAYIN (7) is 13 which is the value of the word ECHAD - ALEPH (1) CHET (8) DALET (4) = 13. ECHAD means ONE. It is also the highest prime denominator of the name of God - YUD (190) HEY (5) VAV (6) HEY (5) = 26 =13 = ONE.
VAV is the 6th letter and has a numerical value of 6. It means HOOK and makes a sound like the V in Victory. When used as a vowel, VAV can sound like a long `o or a long `u. Translated it means AND. It is the GREAT CONNECTOR. VAV appears in the Four Letter name of God.
PEY is the 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 80. PEY makes a sound either like the P in Peace or the F in Food. PEY means MOUTH and is constructed of a CAF with a YUD situated at the top and rotated inward.
If one looks carefully at the PEY one can see that there is a BEIT, which makes up the empty space within it. The BEIT is the first letter of the word BERESHIT - IN A BEGINNING, which is the first word of TORAH. God opened up Gods MOUTH and out came the BEIT BEGINNING CREATION.
NUN is the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 50. NUN makes a sound like the N in Now. The NUN has the head of a ZAYIN. The body is an elongated Zayin. NUN means SHINE, SPOUT, SPREAD, KINDDOM in Hebrew and FISH in Aramaic.
The NUN is one of 5 letters [CAF, MEM NUN PEY TSADE] that have 2 forms - the regular [bent] form used in the beginning and middle of a word and the FINAL FORM - SOFIT - used as the last letter of a word. According to the ancient kabbalistic text The Bahir, the bent NUN represents the spinal cord through which the body is fed by the brain (The Bahir. 1979. Tr. Aryeh Kaplan. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 31).
YUD is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 10. YUD makes a sound like the Y in Year. YUD is a simple point. It is the smallest letter in the alphabet and yet is frequently associated with the very large concept of EMANATION, the highest level in the Four World paradigm of Kabbalah.
YUD has the important job of being the first letter of the Tetragrammaton - YUD HEY VAV HEY. Zohar states that, in this context, the YUD represents the head of all creatures (Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 3:130).
This work is accompanied by the kabbalistic explanation printed above.
The original 5x7 watercolor painting of this image is available.
mat color:: cherry red
stock number:: nm15-153