The Hebrew Letters: Samech

The Endless Cycle

The circular form of the samech symbolizes the fundamental truth reflected at all levels of Torah and reality: “their end is enwedged in their beginning and their beginning in their end.” This realization and awareness of inherent unity between beginning and end, which, when comprehended in depth, implies equanimity at all stages of “the endless cycle,” is in fact the manifestation of God’s Transcendent Light (sovev kol almin), which encompasses equally every point of reality. This ever-present Transcendent Light is referred to as “He is equal and equalizes small and large.” In our service of God, this implies that in relation to worldly phenomena, all things should be related to and accepted equally. This is the attribute of equanimity as taught by the Ba’al Shem Tov, in interpretation of the verse: “I place [shiviti, from the root shaveh, 'equal'] God before me always.”

While at outer levels of consciousness one should remain unaffected by the transient events of this world, at deeper inner levels of consciousness, relating to Souls and Divinity, one should continuously be in a state of aspiration to achieve higher and higher levels of clinging to God and realizing His Will in Creation through Torah and mitzvot.

IChassidut we are taught that the saying of the Sages: “Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his portion” pertains only to worldly possessions, whereas with regard to spiritual matters we should never be satisfied with our present acquisitions but ever strive to obtain more. Nonetheless, as our inner striving takes place within the general context of external equanimity, it also proceeds as a circle, a spiral, in dynamic, ever-ascending motion. Thus an inner, dynamic circle exists within an outer, static circle. This is the secret of the phrase in the vision of Ezekiel: “the wheel within the wheel.”

As mentioned in our discussion of the letter nun, the samech, which means “to support,” is the Divine power to support and lift up “the fallen one.” One verse reads: “she has fallen and shall not rise, the virgin of Israel.” A second verse reads: “as I have fallen, so surely shall I rise.” The first verse can be understood as referring to the service of the outer, static circle, the attribute of true equanimity in relation to all worldly phenomena. One can fall to the very “lowest energy level” of physical reality, unable to raise himself, and be totally reliant on the lovingkindness of Divine Providence to sustain him. The second verse, implying inner, active, motivation to rise, though surely dependent upon Divine support and aid, can be understood as referring to the service of the inner, dynamic circle of spiritual aspiration.

As is the case for any two concentric circles, the bottom of the outer circle descends below that of the inner circle, yet its upper portion is higher in origin than that of the inner circle. This in itself is the ultimate manifestation of “the end” being enwedged in “the beginning.” “The end” here refers to the service of the outer circle itself. “The beginning” refers to the ultimate objective of the inner circle, the revelation below, in Worlds, of God’s very Essence, latently present in the simple faith inherent in the worldly service of equanimity.


FORM

A circle; a wedding ring.

Worlds:

 

  • The vacuum created by the initial contraction of God’s Infinite Light.
  • The lower perspective of reality resulting from the initial contraction.
  • Circular rings of evolutionary and historical cycles.
  • The despair inherent in the “philosophy of the void.”

Souls:

 

  • The impression of Divine light “left over” in the vacuum.
  • The tzadik - hidden foundation of the world.
  • The equality of all Jewish souls.
  • The marriage of two halves of a common soul.

Divinity:

 

  • “Their end is enwedged in their beginning and their beginning in their end.”
  • The Transcendent Surrounding Light.
  • “The Future to Come” (as opposed to “the Coming World”).
  • The Divine presence in marriage.
  • The dance of the tzadikim in the World to Come.
  • The dance of the maidens on Tu b’Av.

 

NAME

To support; rely on; ordination; construct form (in grammar).

Worlds:

 

  • Supporting the fallen.
  • The miraculous continuation of life in the face of entropy.
  • Welfare: support and encouragement.

Souls:

 

  • The support of one’s students.
  • The secret of ordination.
  • Signs and summaries.

Divinity:

 

  • Offering oneself to God (semichah).
  • The experience of being supported by God at all times.

 


NUMBER

Sixty.

Worlds:

 

  • Numerical symbol of an all inclusive state.
  • The law of nullification, 1:60.
  • Sleep is one-sixtieth of death; Dream is one-sixtieth of prophecy.
  • Fire is one-sixtieth of hell; Honey is one-sixtieth of manna.
  • Shabbat is one-sixtieth of the World to Come.
  • The quantum leap from plane to plane.
  • The nullification of lower dimensional spaces in higher dimensional spaces.

Souls:

 

  • Sixty ten thousands – 600,000 souls who left Egypt.
  • The nullification of the individual Jew in the community of Israel.
  • Sixty Guards of King Solomon; Sixty students of the Ba’al Shem Tov.
  • Sixty queens in the Song of Songs; Sixty tractates of the Oral Torah.

Divinity:

 

  • Sixty Letters of the Priestly Blessing.
  • Sixty bones in the two hands of the kohen.
  • The Transcendent Light of God.

 

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