yom huledet sameach
Nine of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are featured in this work.
In the first word Yud Vav Mem - YOM DAY.
In the second word - Hey Vav Lamed Dalet Tav - HULEDET BIRTH.
In the third word Shin Mem Chet - SAMEACH JOYOUS or HAPPY.
In the fourth word - Aleph Beit Aleph - FATHER.
Taken all together YOM HULETET SAMEACH HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAUGHTER.
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.
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).
In the Sephrotic tree the YUD symbolizes WISDOM - the stage of concealment which precedes its development into a state of expansion in UNDERSTANDING. It is then contained and represented in the letter HEY. (Zalman, Shneur. 1981. "Igeret Hateshuvah." Likkutie Amarim - Tanya. Brooklyn: Kihot. 359).
VAV is the 6th letter, has a numerical value of 6, and is constructed of a single vertical line. VAV 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.
The first word in Torah is Bereshit. It 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? The 6 Sephirot represented by the VAV - HESED, GEVURAH, TIFERET, NETZACH, HOD, YESOD? Six directions - east, west, north south, up and down? The letter VAV itself? (Kaplan, Aryeh. 1979. Tr. The Bahir. York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 30).
MEM is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 40. MEM makes a sound like the M in Middle. But according to the ancient kabbalistic text Sefer Yetzirah, the MEM hummmmmms! MEM is usually associated with the word MAYIM - WATER or EEMAH - MOTHER. MEM is composed of a CAF (20) and a VAV (6) = 26, which have the same GEMATRIA as the YUD (10) HEY (5) VAV (6) HEY(5) = 26 name of God - the holiest of God's Names.
The MEM is one of the 5 letters CAF, MEM NUN, PEY, TSADE that have 2 forms. 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 AIR (Shabbat 104a).
HEY is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 5. HEY means BEHOLD. The HEY is constructed of a DALET and a YUD. HEY makes a sound like the H in Happy. HEY appears twice in the YUD HEY VAV HEY Name of God.
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).
LAMED is the 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 30. LAMED 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.
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 door.
The conjunction of the two letters GIMEL and DALET indicates issuing forth
, GIMEL giving and DALET receiving (Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:244b).
TAV is the 22nd letter in Hebrew alphabet the last letter. It has a numerical value of 400. TAV means MARK, SIGN. In 1500 B.C.E. the TAV was written as an X. Perhaps this contributed to its meaning. TAV makes a sound like the T in Tall. The TAV is composed of a DALET and a NUN.
God said to the Angel Gabriel: Go set a TAV MARK - on the foreheads of the righteous so that they will be protected (Shabbat 55a).
The letters of EMET ALEPH MEM TAV are located far apart in the alphabet 1st, 13th and 22nd respectively because TRUTH in found infrequently - at elongated intervals (Shabbat 104a).
Truth encompasses everything ALEPH to TAV, from BEGINNING to END, from BIRTH to death. EMET ALEPH MEM TAV. ALEPH MEM indicates EEMAH MOTHER (birth). MEM TAV means DEATH. Everything from BIRTH to DEATH (Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz, author of The Seventh Telling, The Thirty-Third Hour).).
SHIN is the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 300. SHIN means TOOTH, YEAR, REPEAT, TEACH. SHIN makes the sound SHHHHHH when the DOT is on the right, and SSSS when the DOT is on he left.
There are differing opinions about which components make up the SHIN. Kushner states that the VAV makes up the right arm, the ZAYIN the left, and YUD the middle. In Haralicks opinion, the YUD is on the right, the ZAYIN on the left and the VAV in the middle. It is the view of Ginsburgh that the SHIN is composed of 3 VAVs, each with a little YUD on its top. So, to make this letter your own, it will be necessary to take it into meditation and come to your own conclusion (Kushner, Lawrence. 1975. The Book of Letters a Mystical Alef-bait. Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing. 72; Haralick, Robert M. 1995. The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters. Northvale: Jason Aronson. 299; Ginsburgh, Rabbi Yitzchak. 1992. The Hebrew Letters. Jerusalem: Gal Einai.. 313).
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.
ALEPH is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of one. The meanings of ALEPH are: THOUSAND, MASTER, TEACHING, OX. The ALEPH makes no sound. The ALEPH is composed of a VAV (6) and 2 YUDS (20). Their combined value is 26 which is the numerical value of the name of God - YUD (10) HEY (5) VAV (6) HEY (5).
The Lord said to her: Aleph, Aleph, although I will begin the creation of the world with the Beit, thou wilt remain the first of the letters. My unity shall not be expressed except through thee, on thee shall be based all calculations and operations of the world
(Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:3b).
Beit is female, Aleph male. As Beit created, so Aleph produced letters (Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:30a).
BEIT is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and its numerical value is 2. The meanings of BEIT are HOUSE, HOME, CONTAINER. The BEIT makes a sound like the B in Beautiful.
Torah begins with the letter BEIT. It was chosen for this honor because it is closed on top, bottom and on the right. It is open on the left, the direction of the text, to teach us to look forward and not backward, in our daily lives (Freedman, H. and Simon Maurice Tr. 1983. Genesis Rabbah. New York: Soncino P. 9). When the time came to create the world all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet presented themselves to God in reverse order. Each one requested that God place it first in creation. God rejected each one in turn. The BEIT then entered and suggested that it be put first since it represented the blessings - BRACHOT. God agree and thus BEIT was put first in the creation of the world (Zohar 1978. v.1. TR. Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. London: Soncino. 12).
This work is accompanied by the kabbalistic explanation printed above.
The original 5x7 watercolor painting of this image is available.
mat color:: green, yellow