The Torah has body and soul, law and mystery. Both derive from a common source: the Hebrew language.
The first text of Kabbalah is the first text of Hebrew grammar, the Book of Formation. All the myriad laws of the Oral Torah are the product of intense and detailed analysis of the syntax of the Hebrew text of the Bible.
The first step toward Torah scholarship is to master Hebrew. Hebrew is the Holy Tongue, the language of creation. The Hebrew name of an entity is its life-force; it is continuously being recreated by the power of its name. Just as the Torah begins with the account of creation, so should Torah study begin with mastering the language of creation.
The Torah begins, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The first thing that God created was the heavens. The word "heavens" (שמים) begins with the letter shin (ש) followed by the word "water" (מים). There are three readings of the shin (single letters stand for simple words whose primary consonant is that letter) followed by water: "there is water" (שם מים, the heavens are full of water), "lift water" (שא מים, the heavens support [lift up] water), "fire [and] water" (אש מים, the heavens unite the two opposites of fire and water). All readings (stated by the sages) are true and exist simultaneously.
According to all three readings, "water" precedes "heavens," as heavens is defined as a relationship to water. But in Hebrew, water itself is no more than the letter mem (מ, the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) written in full (מים, two mems with a yud in-between, a beautiful allusion to the chemical formula of water – H2O). So we observe a three stage creative process, from mem to water to heavens: מ – מים – שמים.
In small numbering, mem = 4, water = 9, heavens = 12. Together, the three stages sum to 25 = 52.
4, 9, 12 begin a symmetric quadratic series (calculated by taking finite differences), whose positive numbers are: 4 9 12 13 12 9 4, which add to 63 = 7 times 9, "water" (in small numbering), the average value of the 7 numbers. The apex of the series, 13, is the ordinal value of the letter mem. The average of the inspirational values (מספרי השראה) of the 7 numbers is 169 = 132.
The above is an example of an elementary analysis/meditation of a word in the Torah.
( April 7, 2011 )
I am learning a lot from your blog, and I bless God for your writing, thank you.
"Hebrew is the Holy Tongue, the language of creation." That sentence moved my heart, because I have experienced this in my studies. When I learn Hebrew as I read the Word, I feel closer to the truth and the mystery that lie within it. God has blessed my heart immensely through the language of Hebrew.
It is truly beautiful.