Expression – Thought, Speech, and Action
The name of the letter hei appears in the verse, "Take [hei] for yourselves seed." "Take" (hei) expresses revelation of self in the act of giving of oneself to another. Giving to others in the form of self-expression is the ultimate gift of self. In the secret of the letter gimmel, the rich man gives of himself to the poor man in the form of charity. The highest form of charity is when the giver is completely concealed from the receiver, in order not to embarrass him, as is said, "the concealed gift subdues anger." Here, in the secret of the letter hei, the gift itself is the relation and expression of self, drawing the receiver into the essence of the giver. Joseph, the speaker of the verse "take for yourselves seed," corresponds to the sefirah of yesod, whose function is to express self in the form of giving seed, as explained in Kabbalah. When Joseph first gave grain to his brothers, they were unable to recognize him, similar to the dalet in relation to the gimlet. Upon his revelation to his brothers (and thereby to all of Egypt), his giving became that of the hei. Instead of grain he now gave seed.
The soul possesses three means of expression–"garments," in the terminology of the Kabbalah and Chassidut: thought, speech, and action. The higher garment, thought, is the expression of one's inner intellect and emotions to oneself. The process of the intellect and emotions becoming conscious through thought is similar to giving oneself (the essentially unconscious domains of the soul) to another (one's state of consciousness). The two lower garments, speech and action, express oneself to others.
The three lines which compose the form of the hei correspond to these three garments: the upper horizontal line to thought; the right vertical line to speech; the unattached foot to action.
The horizontal line symbolizes a state of equanimity. The continuous, horizontal flow of thought is the contemplation of how G d is found equally in every place and in every thing. In relating to one's fellow Jew, one must realize that each of us possesses an innate inner point of goodness, and that all Jews are equal in essence. This realization, the horizontal high plane of one's consciousness in relation to another, sets the "scene" for all individual, personal relationships.
The origin-point of speech, the right vertical line of the hei is directly connected to the line of thought and thereafter descends to express one's thoughts and inner feelings to others. The root of the word speech in Hebrew, davar, means "leadership," as in the expression "There is one leader [dabar] in a generation, not two leaders in a generation." Leadership implies hierarchy, relative positions of up and down, and thus is represented by a vertical line. The King, and likewise every leader, rules through his power of speech, as is said, "By the word of the King is His sovereignty."
The separation of action, the unattached left foot of the hei, from thought, the upper horizontal line, reflects a deep truth about the nature of action. "Many are the thoughts in the heart of man, yet the advice of God shall surely stand." The servant of God experiences the existential gap between his thoughts and deeds. Often he is unable to realize his inner intentions. Other times he is surprised by unexpected success. In both cases he feels the hand of God directing his deeds. The gap is the experience of the Divine Nothing, the source of all Creation in deed: something from nothing.
We have now reached the culmination of the sequence represented by the three letters gimmel, dalet, and hei, the process of giving of oneself to another. The gift, represented by the foot, the unattached segment of hei, when fully integrated in the receiver, becomes his own power of action and giving of himself to others. Even more, now he fully realizes that the ultimate effect and potency of his deeds are in truth the act of Divine Providence.
Three lines; the two lines of the dalet together with an unattached left foot.
- Three dimensions of physical reality:
- Width – horizontal line,
- Length – vertical line,
- Depth – unattached foot.
- There is a dimension of reality beyond initial sensory perception.
- "We will do and understand."
- Three garments ("servants") of the soul:
- Thought (meditative or involuntary) – horizontal line,
- Speech (from the heart or from the lips) – vertical line,
- Action – unattached foot.
- The beinoni, who masters his "servants."
- Three Divine manifestations:
- Essence – horizontal line,
- Transcendent Light – vertical line,
- Immanent Light – unattached foot.
To be broken; to take seed; behold; revelation.
- Breaking of the vessels and the resulting plurality of Creation.
- The teacher breaking the brilliance of his comprehension for the sake of the student.
- Broken existence resulting in unified existence.
- Impregnating reality with the souls of Israel.
- Divine revelation – "Beholding" God.
- Ultimate revelation of the Mashiach.
- Small hei: potential Divine revelation.
- Symbol of division.
- Five origins of speech in the mouth.
- Five fingers of the hand.
- Five visible planets in the solar system.
- The five vanities in the opening verse of Ecclesiastes.
- Five levels of the soul.
- Five times "Bless God, my soul" in Psalms 103 and 104.
- Five voices of the joy of bride and groom.
- Five Books of Moses.
- Five voices at the giving of the Torah.
- Five times light in the first day of Creation.
- Five final letters.
- Five redemption's.