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MEM is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet , has a numerical value of 40, makes a sound like the M in Middle. But according to the ancient kabbalistic text ‘Sefer Yetzirah,’ the MEM hummmmmms! Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1990. Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 243). Mem is composed of a Caf (20) and a Vav (6) = 26, which have the same GEMATRIA as the Four letter name of God, Yud (10) Hey(5) Vav (6) Hey (5) = 26, the holiest of God's Names. Mem is usually associated with the word mayim - WATER or Eemah - MOTHER.
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 Zayin Tet Zayin Yud Zayin Lamed Nun Samech Ayin Tsade Kuf. Mem is one of the 3 mothers.
The three mothers are Aleph, meaning air Avir, Mem, meaning water Mayim, Shin, meaning fire Esh. Heaven was created from fire and earth created from water, Mayim. The letter mem comes from the word Mayim. Mem is king over water. With Mem God formed Earth in the universe, Cold in the Year and the belly in the soul (Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1990. Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation. York Beach: Samuel Weiser 154).
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 final Mem since it is completely closed, it should have fallen out. Because it did not, R. Hisda said that it stood there be means of a miracle (Shabbat 104a).
The Mem is one of the 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 (Megilah 2b). One form is used in the beginning and the middle of a word - the open Mem. The other form is at the end of the word - the closed Mem. According to Talmud, the open Mem represents revealed teaching and the closed Mem represents concealed teaching (Shabbat 104a).
It must be ‘kethibah tammah’ [perfect writing]; the Mem as a Samech or the Mem as a Mem, closed [letters] open or open letters closed (Shabbat 103b).
Aleph symbolizes the Father, and when it ascends and descends, the Mem unites itself with it, producing ‘em’, which signifies Mother; the Resh is the Head (‘rosh’ =head), signifying Son. When these three unite the result is that they form “Word”, “Speech”. Thus the Father, the Mother, and the first born Son radiate one within the other in one union, which has its reign and duration upon the Sabbath. R. Tanhum said: Bar Kappara expounded in Sepphoris [Tzippori], Why is every Mem in the middle of a word open, whilst this [Mem sophit] is closed? - The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to appoint Hezekiah as the ‘Messiah,’ and ‘Sennacherib’ as Gog and Magog; whereupon the Attribute of Justice said before the Holy One, blessed be He [haKadosh barochu] : ‘Sovereign of the Universe (Sanhedrin 94a). ‘Of the increase [ LeMarbai Lamed Mem Resh Beit Beit] of his government and peace there shall be no end ‘(Isaiah 9:7).
Sometimes when I meditate with this letter, the Mem acts like sort of a submarine for me. At other times I can breathe under water. Nice. Let me know how you do.
January 28th, 2018
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