SAMLAI is an Aramaic form of SAMLA, from the Hebrew, meaning GARMENT or LEFT-HANDED.
The letters featured in this piece are SAMECH MEM LAMED ALEPH YUD. Taken together, and reading from right to left, they spell SAMLAI.
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.
SAMECH is the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 60. It makes a sound like the S in Sun. SAMECH is shaped like a circle and means SUPPORT, TO TRUST, TO RELY ON.
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 SAMECH, 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).
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 SEPHER YETZIRAH, the MEM hummmmmms! MEM is usually associated with the word MAYIM - WATER or EEMAH - MOTHER.
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.
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).
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).
This work is accompanied by the kabbalistic explanation printed above.
The original 5x7 watercolor painting of this image is available.
mat color:: green
stock number:: nm19-123