The Hebrew Letters: Introduction

The Hebrew Alef-Beit (alphabet), despite its apparent simplicity, contains within it the deepest secrets of Creation.

The Kabbalistic classic Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) teaches that creative consciousness exists in three states (space, time, and soul), which are reflected in the form, name and numerical equivalent of each letter. In the only extant piece of writing from the Ba’al Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement), he taught that each letter also exists in each of the three dimensions of Worlds, Souls, and Divinity.

Worlds” refers to the physical, material, human, moral, and personal dimension, “Souls” to the Jewish religious/spiritual dimension, and “Divinity” to the Godly dimension. Since each of these dimensions is reflected in each letter’s three facets–its shape, its name, and its numerical value–we can distinguish nine separate categories of meaning for each letter:

We are presenting here excerpts from Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s book on the mystical dimensions of the Hebrew alphabet, The Hebrew Letters: Channels of Creative Consciousness. In it are discussed many basic as well as advanced concepts in Jewish thought.

In the book, Rabbi Ginsburgh precedes his detailed treatment of these nine categories for each letter with

  1. A kernel-phrase that synopsizes the basic essence of the letter,

  2. A general introduction to the letter, and

  3. A summary chart of the discussions to follow.

Click here to read the full introduction to The Hebrew Letters.

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