Kabbalah of The Mother Letters
(The following is an excerpt from an article by longtime Jewish renewal community member Jerry Green (Yitzhak Ahron). The full article will be published later this year in Tiferet, Journal of Spirituality (www.tiferetjournal.com). Earlier versions have been published in the Jewish Meditation community and The American Muslim Journal. Readers may request a .pdf of the current article by emailing Jerry at email@example.com. The Update welcomes non-partisan contributions that respect and honor all members of our community.)
Sefer Yetzirah, or the Book of Creation, which contains teachings attributed to Abraham, may be translated in the third person, past tense, describing the creative process. Or it may be translated in the imperative, suggesting a meditation or guide to inner work; something we are to do now. This way, the text is an instruction manual for empowering the reader with an inner framework for receiving inspiration.
I believe that Torah’s teachings are for all beings, and should be read in a manner that sheds light upon our inner-self in this day. Inner-Torah enables us to see traditional religious doctrines in a new light. The concept of inner teaching, espoused by Joseph Campbell and a number of others, contemplates religious and mythological stories as metaphors for personal experience. Its commonly accepted translation is, “Hear, O Yisrael, God is One.” But suppose we translate it, “Listen, Yisrael, to God’s Oneness, to your Oneness with God.” Where might this lead us? What might we hear?
The sounds of Shema are in the common greeting “Manishma?”, meaning, “How are you?” But it means literally, “What do you hear?” At a deeper level, we are asking, “What are you listening to? What are you attuned to?” Listening (shema) brings our attention to our ears, into the perception of sound and our sense of space and balance.
Both Kabbalah and Aikido associate the triangle with the head, the square with the belly (pelvis) and the circle with the breath (chest.) The triangle is focus and direction, and the square is balance and stability. Shin is a triangle, and the number 300. [The Hebrew letter] Mem is a square and the number 40. [The Hebrew letter] Aleph is the number one, whose geometry is a circle.
Follow the sounds of The Mother Letters into silent breathing. They are opposite qualities, and thus contain all sounds. On an oscilloscope, Shin consists of many vibrations, like white noise. Mem is a pure tone.
May they be for us a gateway into The Silence.