Hebrew Letters

The Hebrew Letters: Tav

Impression – The Seal of Creation

The Zohar states: "the tav makes an impression on the Ancient of Days." "The Ancient of Days" refers to the sublime pleasure innate within the "crown" (Will) of Divine Emanation. The letter tav (here referring to the "Kingdom of the Infinite One, Blessed be He") leaves its impression on the "Ancient of Days." The impression is the secret of simple faith in God's ultimate omnipresence the Infinite present in the finite, for "there is none like unto Him" (the conclusion of the above quotation from the Zohar).

This faith passes in inheritance from generation to generation, from world to world, the malchut ("kingdom") of the higher world linked to the keter ("crown") of the lower world. The tav, the final letter of the alef-beit, corresponds tomalchut ("kingdom"), the final Divine power, in the secret of "Your Kingdom is the Kingdom of all worlds." The impression of the tav is the secret of the power that links worlds – generations – together.

The initial impression of true faith was that which was stamped upon the soul of our first father, Abraham, "the first of all believers." This is the secret of Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, the original Jewish cemetery, for four hundred (the numerical value of tavshekel, the secret of our eternal inheritance of "four hundred worlds of pleasure," sealed with the stamp of simple faith.

God's seal (in Creation) is truth (in Hebrew, emet, spelled out by the final letters of the three last words in the account of Creation: bara elokim la'asot," " …God created ‘to do’"). The last letter or seal of the word emet, "truth," itself – the seal of God's seal – is the letter tav, simple faith, the conclusion and culmination of all twenty-two forces – letters – active in Creation.

The three letters which spell emet are the beginning, middle and ending letters of the alef-beit." The alef corresponds to one’s initial awareness of Divine paradox in the infinite source (where the higher and lower waters, joy and bitterness, are absolutely one). From this awareness issues mem, the fountain of Divine wisdom, ever- increasing power of insight into the mysteries of Torah. "The final end of knowledge is not to know." The culmination of the flow of Divine wisdom in the soul (after all is said and done) is the "majestic" revelation of the infinite "treasure-house" of simple faith in God's absolute omnipresence below innate in the soul of Israel. The culmination of truth simple faith is the secret of the "tav."

"All follows the seal," in the secret of "returning light" from the tav to the alef, thereby forming the word ta, "cell." Around the inner Sanctuary of the Temple were constructed many "cells" or "small chambers." These "cells" were without windows, thus being completely dark inside. Chassidut teaches that these "cells" reveal the level of "He places His concealed place in darkness," the awareness of simple faith reaching into the absolutely "dark" Essence of God.

So we are taught: "Torah is the impression [the tav] of Divinity; Israel is the impression [the tav] of Torah." Divinity is perceived first through the service of deepest meditation in complete silence (submission), the secret of the chash("silence") of chashmal. (Then, through the means of an intermediate stage of "circumcision," comes a first expression of mal, "circumcision." Torah is the secret of separation between good and evil – circumcision – the cutting off of the foreskin (evil).

Israel, the ultimate manifestation of God's Word in Torah ("Israel" is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase "There are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah") corresponds to the final level of "speech," the "second" mal of chashmal. Speech, communication of God's oneness between souls, is the ultimate level of Divine service, "sweetening" all reality, as taught by the Ba'al Shem Tov. The tav, simple faith, is here seen to be the power of impression and linkage uniting the apparently paradoxical extremities of Divine service, from the utter silence of meditation to the loving communication between souls.


dalet joined to a nun.
A stamp or seal.



  • Physical "stamps" on reality – fossils, footprints.
  • Judgment and Law.
  • Primordial matter.




  • The tribe of Dan – humility and selflessness.
  • Returning the lost sense of purpose and direction.
  • Salvation.
  • Reincarnation; The "stamp" of previous lifetimes.




  • The reading of the Name Havayah.
  • God as Judge.
  • God’s seal on all of reality: the source of teshuvah and the potential of individuality.



Sign; impression; code; in Aramaic: more.



  • The sign on the forehead of Cain.
  • Natural law and codes of life.
  • The music of Creation.




  • The sign of righteousness.
  • The tzadik is alive even in death.
  • Teshuvah, prayer, Torah.




  • The Divine power of continuation present in the end.
  • The advantage of light which shines from darkness.
  • The last letter of the account of Creation: rectification, the seal of truth.
  • The last letter of the first word of Creation: the ultimate origin.



Four hundred.



  • Four hundred men of Esau.
  • Four hundred men of David.
  • Four hundred years of exile in Egypt.




  • The four hundred pieces of silver with which Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpelah to bury Sarah.
  • The four hundred gates of mutual knowledge amongst the four couples buried in the Machpelah.
  • Efron – evil eye; Abraham – pure eyes.
  • The dimensions of the Land of Israel – four hundred parsah by four hundred parsah.




  • The four hundred worlds of Divine pleasure in the World to Come.
  • The God of Israel, the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and the Land of Israel.

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