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The Hebrew letter featured in this painting is the ZAYIN. These three Zayins are pictured here to resemble taggin. See below for the story.
ZAYIN is the 7th letter of the alphabet, has a numerical value of 7, looks like a sword or a scepter, makes a sound like the Z in Zebra and means SWORD, TO ORNAMENT, TO SUSTAIN.
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.
ZAYIN is one of the elementals.
What is the purpose of the HEY? It is the throne for the ZAYIN. It is thus written in Ecclesiastes 5:7, “For one above the other watches “(Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 19).
Zayin is one of 7 letters which may be adorned with TAGIN, or little crowns, in the Torah, Tefillin or Mezzuzah scroll. These are called the SHAYATNAYZ GAYTZ letters [Shin, Ayin, Tet, Nun, Zayin, Gimmel, and Tsade] Each one of these letters contains a Zayin. A TAG is composed of 3 strokes which themselves look like little Zayins.
There is a wonderful story in Talmud, which describes Moses ascending to Heaven to find God occupied in affixing TAGGIN to the letters of Torah:
Rab Judah said in the name of Rab, When Moses ascended on high he found the Holy One, blessed be He, engaged in affixing coronets to the letters. [These are the Taggin, i.e., three small strokes written on top of the letters Shayatnayz Gaytz in the form of a crown (Menachoth 29b).
I [zayin] represent the observance of the Sabbath, as it is written, ‘Remember [zachor] the day of Sgabbat to keep it holy’ (Exodus 20:8) (Zohar . 1984 Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:3a).
Zayin is the first letter in the word ZOHAR, that consummate kabbalistic work attributed to Simeon Bar Yohaari, a first century rabbi. It is the first letter in the word ZACHER,TO REMEMBER, which we are frequently exhorted to do in our Biblical and Talmudic literature. It the first letter of the word ZMIROT, SONGS. “By singing we use the sword to cut through the barrier… between our soul and God” (Haralick, Robert M. 1995. The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters Northvale: Jason Aronson. 112.).
If you ask in meditation the Zayins will come and encircle you, and you will feel safe. They can also be used to keep out extraneous thoughts during this time.
March 30th, 2019
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