Secrets of the Tribe of Levi

Q: I'm searching for the Hebrew letter that represents my tribe. Could you tell me what letter represents the Levi tribe? I'm becoming aware of my heritage again.

A: The tribe of Levi was not one of the 12 tribes camped around the periphery of the Camp of Israel in the desert. The 12 tribes were divided into 4 camps of 3 tribes each. This corresponded to the 12 princes who brought their sacrifices to inaugurate the Tabernacle. This is the order in which the Arizal arranges the months in correspondence to the 12 simple letters of the Hebrew alphabet (alef-beit). That is why Levi does not appear according to that system.

There are other systems, though, especially of the early Kabbalists, that correlate the 12 Hebrew months to the 12 tribes in the order of their birth. According to that system Levi is the third of the 12, as he is the third son to be born to Jacob. His month isSivan, the third month of the year. His letter is the letter zayin. So there is definitely a legitimate and authentic system in Kabbalah, albeit not of the Arizal, that Levi corresponds to the letter zayin.

According to the Arizal, we must return to the image of the Camp of Israel. The twelve tribes were situated around the Tabernacle, and the tribe of Levi was situated in the center of the other tribes. This alludes to the fact that ideally, Levi is the soul of all the twelve tribes. In accordance, Levi can be seen to correspond to (the inner dimension of) the entire array of the twelve simple letters.

When a leap year occurs in the Jewish calendar, there is a 13th month to the year. That 13th month corresponds to the tribe ofLevi. This alludes to the inner pregnancy which the entire year possesses. Then the intent of Kabbalah is to include all the 12 simple letters together, as the 13th includes all the 12 from within. This is the level of Levi.

The sense of the tribe of Levi is singing, as that was his service in the Temple. Singing is not one of the 12 senses, but it is like the inner soul of all the twelve.

An additional intention of Levi in relation to the letters of the alef-beit: There are the seven double letters of the alef-beit, which do not correspond to the months, but rather to the days of the week. They also correspond to the seven shepherd souls of the Jewish People. These are the three Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David. Moses is a Levi, and Aaron is the Kohen. Each of the three Patriarchs corresponds to KohenLevi or Yisrael. Isaac corresponds to Levi. Isaac's letter, correlating to the letter of Levi, is the second of the double letters, gimel. Moses, who was also a Levi, possesses his letter, kaf. This is the fourth of the seven double letters.

As you see, there is an entire spectrum of letters which correspond to Levi. In addition, when one meditates on any name, one should meditate on the letters that compose the name itself. Levi is spelled with three letters, lamedvav, and yud. The meditation on those three letters, the name of Levi, is one of the most fundamental meditations on the secret of Levi.

In addition to all the information on the Hebrew letters section which you found on the website, I recommend that you read the complete book , "The Hebrew Letters" and study in depth all the letters, especially those which pertain to Levi.

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