|Hebrew Alphabet: Letters of the Alefbet / Hay
Letters of the Alefbet
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.
To be broken; to take seed; behold; revelation.