Hebrew - A Language of Light

Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet caries many special meanings. Brief interpretations of the 22 basic components of the Aleph-Bet are listed below, with special emphasis placed on the more important letters. The meanings given are a synthesis taken from several sources, including the wonderful exposition on the Aleph-Bet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk of New York in his The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet (Mesorah Publications Ltd., Brooklyn, NY, 1983), a book which is heartily recommended to all who wish to study in depth the myriad spiritual nuances that highlight the Hebrew Language of Light and provide a code book of spiritual and temporal conduct for all.

Aleph AlephTraditionally "first"; "sacrificial ox"; and "one thousand." As the first of all the holy Letters, and symbol of God's Oneness and Omnipotence, aleph is a three-in-one presentation. Its upper right segment consists of a yod, the first letter in the Name of the Divine. A second yod in the aleph's lower left segment signifies the Creator resident withis His creation. The central diagonal connecting pillar is the vau, symbol of transformation. Aleph thus represnets the process of spiritual transformation from human to super-human and is linked with the belief in absolute monotheism--that there is but one true living God.
Bet Bet Translating literally as "house," bet is the first letter of the first word in the Hebrew bible (>B'reshiyth--"In the beginning"). Also the first letter in the first word of any Jewish Blessing: Baruch ("blessed"), as in Baruch ha Shem ("Blessed is the Name [of God]"). Bet symbolizes the Duality and Plurality of Creation, the two worlds of the Jewish faith--"This World" and the "World to Come"--and emphasizes the fact that our pre-eminent task in This World is to prepare of the World to Come.
Gimmel Gimmel Traditional meanings: "prize"; "reward"; "fund." Esoterically, this is a symbol for Kindness and of Completion, standing for the Creator's overwhelming and eternal beneficence or Chesed (Mercy").
Dalet Dalet Literally, "door"; also meaning "weakness." It represents dimensions in space and time: the four physical directions--north, south, east, and west--and the metaphysical "Four Worlds"--Emanation, Creation, Formation, and Action.
Hey Hey "The Spirit of the Lord." It symbolizes Divinity and Gentility. This letter appears twice in the full Name of God and, together with yod, forms the Divine Name YAH. According to tradition, the World to Come was created through utterance of the letter yod. This World was created through the sound of hey, which is pronounced as a mere exhalation of breath, requiring little movement from tongue or lip.
Vau Vau Traditionally this symbolizes "Humanity" and the "Restoration of Judgment." As the third letter in the Ha Shem, the Holy Name, vau represents Completion, Redemption and Transformation. It is the letter of continuity, uniting Heaven with Earth. When used with certain vowels (as i the probably pronunciation of the Name of God), vau can be an almost silent letter, more approximating a vowel than a consonant. A soft, vowel-like vau denies validity of the harsh-sounding Jehovah as an English translation for the Hebrew Name of God. As the letter yod is also a so-called half-vowel, Iyahweh, with the w and both h's uttered softly, may be closer to being correct as a possible pronunciation fo the Ineffable Name.
Zayin Zayin Means "a spear" or "male appendage." Closely linked with the mystical number seven (and all of its many connotations), zayin signifies Spiritual Struggle, as well as Spiritual Sustenance.
Chet Chet The chet or chai is the traditional symbol of "Life" and, ironically, of "sin." It is also the sign of Transcendance and of Divine Grace, pointing to the possibility that a human being can transcend the limitations of physical existence.
Tet Tet Meaning "to sweep out (by judgment)," tet epitomizes Goodness and Humility--the objective "goodness" which it is the Creator's prerogative to define and delineate, not humankind's.
Yod Yod Literally, "hand" and symbol of the Jew. It also means "monument" or "share." Although the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, yod contains as much meaning as the rest of the Hebrew alphabet combined. Yod signifies Creation itself and all of the Metaphysical processes and, on its own, stands as an important symbol for the Creator.
Kaph Kaph This translates directly as "palm (of the hand or tree)" and is the symbol of Crowning Accomplishment--with a dual meaning that encompasses both the beginning and the ending. Kaph also relates to the principle of the "four crowns": priesthood; kingship; the Toral, or Word of God; and a good name.
Lamed Lamed Meaning literally "to learn," this is the sign of Wisdom and of Purpose. Central letter of the Aleph-Bet symbolizing the "King of Kings," the "Supreme Ruler."
Mem Mem Traditionally, mem has several direct meanings: "waters," "people," "nations," "languages," "tongues." It is the mystical symbol of the Revealed and of the Concealed. Also the first letter in the names Moishe (Moses) and Mashiach ("Anointed One"), equated by some with a coming Messiah. Moses was given the revealed evidence of the Creator's sovereignty over His creation; the Messiah represents the concealed part of the Celestial rule to which Humanity submits in faith alone.
Nun Nun Can be taken to mean "gaffing hook" (for fishing) and "to waste away." It is a letter sometimes used as substitute letter in order to disguise a name. In its mystical sense, nun represents Everlasting Faithfulness and the Emergence of the Soul. Just as the soul is a spark of the Divine, so is God's grace available to all.
Samekh Samekh Samekh means "to trust," "depend upon," and "support." It symbolizes Divine Support and Protection and is associated with the process of Memory. This important letter of the Aleph-Bet also depicts Abundance and Completeness.
Ayin Ayin This means "eye," "wellspring," "source," or "center" and is linked with the Egyptian Eye of Horus. Ayin is, therefore, the symbol of Perception and Insight, of the Physical Eye and of the Spiritual Eye. It illustrates symbolically that the human eye can be taken as a microcosm of the universe.
Pey Pey Meaning "mouth," this letter represents both Speech and Silence and is closely linked with the art of Healing. The ultimate purpose of Creation is for humankind to learn to sing the praises of the Almighty, and to study the Torah.
Tzaddi Tzaddi As the first letter in the word tzaddig, or "righteous man," tzaddi stands for Righteousness and Humility. But although every tzaddig expresses righteousness in a uniquely individual way, true righteousness can exist only in God.
Quf Quf There are numerous traditional meanings for this letter, including: "to buy (or sell)"; "eye of the needle"; and "ape, or monkey." Esoterically, it is the sign for Holiness, both human and Divine, and a symbol for abstinence and control. Quf also represents the various Growth Cycles of our world.
Reysh Reysh Literally, "head," "chieftain," or "supreme one," paradoxically reysh can also be taken to mean "to become impoverished." It stands for the Challenge of the Choice--Greeatness or Degradaton--between which elements there is a very fine dividing line. Reysh also represents the fact that the wicked retain the potential to repent at any chosen moment.
Shin Shin Means "tooth" and is the symbol of Divine Peace, Power and Mastery, but also of Corruption and Falsehood. One of the holiest letters in the Hebrew language, it appears on its own on the mezuzah attached to the doorpost of all Jewish households as the sign of El Shaddai, the Holy Spirit.
Tau Tau Literally, this means "mark" or "sign," and it is also a symbol for "vehicle of sacrifice." Tau, as the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet, represents completion of the Spiritual Cycle and is a sign of Truth and Perfection. It denotes the final spiritual destination for humankind and is closely associated with the preceding letter shin.

Sacred Sounds of East and West
Brian and Esther Crowley

Elizabeth in Hebrew
Above letters:
Tau Bet Zayin Lamed Aleph
read right to left.
Elizabeth in Ancient Hebrew.

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