Hebrew Letters

The Hebrew Letters: Kuf

Omnipresence – Redemption of Fallen Sparks

Two letters, a reish and a zayin, combine to form the letter kuf. The zayin, to the left, descends below the line, while the reish, to the right, hovers above it. The paradoxical union symbolized by the two components of the kuf is the secret of "There is none holy as God." In general, the kuf stands for kedushah, "holiness." The unique level of holiness inherent to God is expressed, in the words of the Zohar, as: "He is grasped within all worlds, yet none grasps Him." The descending zayin of the kuf symbolizes His being grasped in all worlds, permeating even realms of reality "below the line," i.e., worlds antithetical to those in whom God's Presence is revealed. The reish, God's ever-present transcendence, remains "separate" and holy (in Hebrew, "holy" means separate) in relation to His descending immanence.

In the name of the letter tzadik, its initial reading, tzadi, "hunts" for fallen sparks. The holy spark, captured "below the line" in physical matter ("anti-matter," relative to that of spiritual realms) is the secret of the following letter, the kuf, to which the tzadi connects to form the full, rectified name – tzadik.

The tzadik is the eighteenth letter of the alef-beit, the gematria of chai, "life," thus symbolizing the power to enliven the fallen sparks, as represented by the kuf. The kuf, the nineteenth letter, is the secret of "Eve" (Chavah = 19; in ordinal numbering, Adam equals 1 plus 4 plus 13 = 18 = chai), whose name also derives from the root meaning "life," as is said: ."..and Adam called the name of his wife Eve (Chavah) for she was the mother of all life." Nonetheless, of her is said: "her feet descend into death," for in the primordial sin of eating (the "sense" of the letter tzadik, as explained above) from the Tree of Knowledge, she was ultimately responsible for bringing death to the world. Even within the "broken" (dead) corpse, a spark of life remains hidden, awaiting the power of the tzadik, (chai, life) to reinforce its dormant potential of life and to resurrect the body to whom it belongs.

As well as the hidden inner spark of life, a hovering, relatively transcendent "vapor" is present above every corpse or fallen, "dead," physical object. (The word for "vapor," hevel, is also the name Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve, who was killed by his older brother Cain. Hevel = 37 = 18 plus 19.) These two components of life present within the seeming state of death, correspond to the two letters, the reish (the hovering vapor) and the zayin (the hidden spark), which compose the letter kuf. For this reason the kuf symbolizes in particular the reality of fallen sparks, as well as the paradox of the simultaneous omnipresence of God's transcendence and immanence. The innate holiness of each spark insures its ultimate redemption and elevation by the tzadik (i.e., souls of Israel).

The most fundamental significance in Torah of the number nineteen, the ordinal value of the kuf, is the nineteen-year cycle of the moon in relation to the sun, the basis of our Jewish calendar. The moon represents the female figure, the secret of the sefirah of malchut ("kingdom"), personified by Eve (Chavah = 19, as above). The sun represents the male figure (the bestower of light, whereas the moon is the receiver of light), and in particular the sefirah of yesod("foundation"; yesod = 80 = 8 · 10, chet times yud = chai), as personified by Adam. Just as explained in the secret of the form of the letter zayin, "the woman of valor" who is "the crown of her husband," when the letter kuf precedes the letter tzadik, the word keitz, the "end" of time, is formed. This hints at the verse: "…He has set an end [keitz] to darkness." The "end," the coming of Mashiach and the subsequent era of resurrection, is the ultimate revelation of the great light and energy latently present within the secret of the letter kuf.


reish above with a zayin descending below the line on the left.


  • "Shells" of impurity "suck" lifeforce in this world.
  • The zayin and reish spell zar, "foreign."

Souls :

  • The mission of the soul – its descent to clarify sparks of holiness.
  • The zayin and reish spell zeir, "crown."
  • The "boomerang" property of the soul.


  • "He is grasped in all worlds [the zayin], yet no one grasps Him [the reish]."
  • The reish and zayin spell raz, "mystery."


Monkey; to surround or touch; strength; in Aramaic: the eye of a needle.


  • Monkey – vanity, the false imitations of this world.
  • The eye of the needle – the empty point of tzimtzum.


  • The touching and connection between souls.
  • The soul opening to God.


  • Great strength as revealed in miracles.


One hundred.


  • The one-hundred year life span of the eagle.
  • "The youth will die at the age of 100."
  • "At the age of 100 one is as though dead, passed away and 'null' from the world."


  • The age of Abraham at the birth of Isaac.
  • "Go to you": to the source of your soul or to enter your body.


  • Perfect beauty.
  • The perfection of the square, 10 times 10.
  • The ten sefirot interincluded.
  • The one hundred daily blessings.

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