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Kol Damamah Dakah is usually translated as a still small voice or a soft murmuring sound (1 Kings 19: 12). Daniel Matt, author of The Essential Kabbalah , translates the phrase as VOICE OF SHEER SILENCE. The Hebrew Letters and words featured in this painting are: KOL - Kuf, Vav Lamed - meaning VOICE, DAMMAH -Dalet,Mem Mem Hey, meaning SILENCE, and DAKAH - Dalet, Kuf, Hey, meaning THIN or SHEER. Hebrew Bible source -  And he [Elijah] came thither unto a cave went into a cave and spent the night; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What are you doing here, Elijah? 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”1 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper [Still small voice - VOICE OF SHEER SILENCE]. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave (1 Kings19:9-12).
Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet has a special meaning and a story to tell. Here are a few short ones about the letters in this painting.
KUF is the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, has a numerical value of 100, makes a sound like the K in Kind and means TO SURROUND, TO TOUCH, MONKEY. There is some disagreement as to what components make up the Kuf. Munk says that it is constructed of a Caf (20) and a Vav (6). This is very nice because it then has a GEMATRIA of 26 which is the same as the Yud (10) Hey(5) Vav (6) Hey (5) name of God (Munk, Michael. 1983. ‘The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet’. New York: Mesorah. 195). Ginsburgh states that the Kuf is formed by a (Shabbat 104a).above and a Zayin descending below. He also points out that the YUD is the only letter suspended in mid-air. The LAMED is the only one that rises above the "ceiling" of the letters. So too is the KUF unique. It is the only one whose regular form descends below the "FLOOR" of the letters (Ginsburgh, Yitzchak. 1990. The Hebrew Letters. Jerusalem: Gai Einei. 283). Kuf is the voice of an angel calling kadosh kadosh kadosh “Holy holy holy is the Lord of Hosts” (Kushner, Lawrence. 1990. The Book of Letters: Sefer Otiyot. Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing. 67). Kuf stands for KADOSH - HOLY. The foot of the Kuf is suspended to show that the person who repents can return to holiness through the opening between the Zayin and the (Shabbat 104a).
“Kuf [stands for] Kadosh [holy]; Resh [for] Rasha [wicked]: why is the face of the Kuf averted from, the Resh? The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I cannot look at the wicked. And why is the crown of the Kuf turned toward the Resh? The Holy One, blessed be He, saith: If he repents, I will bind a crown on him like Mine. And why is the foot of the Kuf suspended? [To show] that if he repents, he can enter and be brought in [to God's favor] through this [opening]. This supports Resh Lakish, for Resh Lakish, said: What is meant by, Surely he scorns the scorners, But he giveth grace unto the lowly If one comes to defile himself, he is given an opening; if one comes to cleanse himself, he is helped” (Shabbat 104a).
I am afraid that my meditations with the Kuf are very un-holy. I sit in the Caf, put my feet on the side of the Zayin and steer with the head of the Zayin. It is sort of a combination plane and go-cart for me. Let me know of your experiences with the Kuf.
VAV is the 6th letter, has a numerical value of 6, is constructed of a single vertical line, 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 - Yud Hey Vav Hey. “VAV is the sound if beiing joined. And VAV is a the sound of and. One and another” (Kushner, Lawrence. 1990. The Book of Letters: Sefer Otiyot.Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing. 35).
The 6 Sephirot represented by the Vav are - Chesed, Gevura, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 146-172).
What does the letter VAV resemble? It is alluded to in the verse “He spreads out light like a garment” (Psalms 104:5). For VAV is nothing other than six directions [ east, west, north south, up and down]? (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 30).
The first word in Torah is Bereshit which t means IN A BEGINNING. If you divide Bereshit into bara and sheet it means HE CREATED SIX [sheet is 6 in Aramaic] Six what? The 6 days in which creation was completed? (Zohar . 1984 Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:3b. 13).
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 - Yud Hey Vav Hey “VAV is the sound if beiing joined. And VAV is a the sound of and. One and another” (Kushner, Lawrence. 1990. The Book of Letters: Sefer Otiyot.Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing. 35).
In meditation, the Vav is a place where you can leave your body in order to descend to a deeper place.
Lamed is the 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, has a numerical value of 30, makes a sound like the L in Like, Lamed means both TO LEARN and TO TEACH. The Lamed is the tallest and most majestic of all the letters. Indeed Rashi interprets A TOWER FLYING IN THE AIR (Hagigah 15b) - as applying to the upper stroke of the Lamed. The Lamed is generally considered to be constructed of a Caf (20) with a Vav (6). In this configuration the LAMED has a GEMATRIA of 26 - the same as that of the Yud (10) Hey(5) Vav (6) Hey (5) name of God (Haralick, Robert M. 1995. The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters. Northvale: Jason Aronson. 180) Since LAMED means LEARNING, it would seem that this would constitute a direct connection between LAMED, LEARNING and GOD.
The ‘ziz’ was the name of the headplate worn by the High Priest, (Exodus 28:36). The headplate was a kind of golden plate two fingerbreadths broad, and it stretched round [the forehead] from ear to ear, and upon it was written in two lines ‘ Yud Hey [Divine Name] above and ‘Holy Lamed’ [Holy unto] below (Shabbat 63b).
[Zayyin Chet Tet Yud Kaf Lamed]: [this sequence teaches,] and if thou doest thus, the Holy One, blessed be He, will sustain[ Zan] thee, be gracious [Hen] unto thee, show goodness [Metiv] to thee, give thee a heritage [Yerushah], and bind a crown [Keter] on thee in the world to come (Shabbat 104a).
R. Nehemiah said, ‘In the case of every word which requires a Lamed at the beginning [to indicate direction] Scripture has placed a Hey’ at the end’ (Yevamoth 13b).
Lamed is the second letter of the third word , Eloheim, meaning GOD.
Considering the majesty of this letter, I must admit my meditations are very undignified. I usually ride the Lamed as one would a horse if one were a very bad rider - sitting on the curve and hold onto its neck. Let me know about yours.
DALET is the 4th letter of the alphabet, has a numerical value of 4, means DOOR and makes a sound like the D in Delight. The Dalet has the shape of an open consists of two lines, one from right to left on top. And the other straight down on the right side. The first line connects Dalet - Wisdom to Chesed - Love while the second line connects Chochma [ Wisdom] to Chesed. The vowel associated with Chochma [Wisdom] is a Petrach while Segol is associated with Chesed. The word Dalet means DOOR, while the word Petach means OPENING. Since Chochma [Wisdom] represents our high perception of the Divine, it is the opening of God that enables Him revealing Himself. Segol is related to the word Segula, a remedy that works for no apparent reason. Segol thus parallels the giving of Chesed, which gives freely, even without reason (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 113).
Gimel Dalet, show kindness to the Poor [Gemol Dallim]. Why is the foot of the Gimel stretched toward the Dalet? Because it is fitting for the benevolent to run after [seek out] the poor. And why is the roof of the Dalet stretched out toward the Gimel? Because he [the poor] must make himself available to him. And why is the face of the Dalet turned away from the Gimel? Because he must give him [help] in secret, lest he be ashamed of him. (Shabbat 104a). It has been taught: Symmachus says: Whoever prolongs the word ehad [one]. has his days and years prolonged. R. Aha b. Jacob said: [He must dwell] on the Dalet (Brachot 13b).
Dalet presents itself to me as a door in meditation. It is always very interesting to see where I am when I open the door. Sometimes I am by the ocean, sometimes in a garden and sometimes in other places. Let me know where you end up when you meditate with the Dalet.
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! 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.
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, 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 (Shabbat 4a). 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).
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.
HEY is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 5, means BEHOLD and is constructed of a Dalet and a Yud, makes a sound like the H in Happy. Hey appears twice in the Yud Hey Vav Hey Name of God.
The numerical value of the Hey is five, alluding to the five names of the soul Nephesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechidah (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 19). What is the purpose of the Hey? It is a throne for the Zayin, It is written “for one above the other watches” (Ecclesiastes 5:7) (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 19).
The word ‘Behebaram’ in Genesis 2:4, is usually translated “When they were created. In the Torah scroll the Hey in this word drew attention to itself by being smaller than the rest of the letters in the scroll. What significance did this have for the word ’Behebaram’? If this word could be translated WITH A Hey HE CREATED THEM, then that would mean that God created this world by means of the Hey. God did this because the Hey is closed on 3 sides and open on the 4th. This allows those who wish to deviate from the right path to get out through the open 4th side. On the left there is a little space between the leg and the roof. That is there to allow anyone who wishes to repent, to return through that small (Menachot 29b).
The heavens “are the totality of twenty-two letters”. The letter Hey produced the heavens to give them life and to water them and the earth (Zohar 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:30a).
Hey is the beginning of the Yud Hey Vav Hey meditation. One descends through the Hey, passes through the Vav [sometimes leaving the body safely in the care of the Vav] and continues descending through the second Hey. This an extremely powerful meditation.
January 25th, 2019
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