You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Other Authors / An Essay about Letters / PART I / The Letter "Shin"

The Letter "Shin"

39) The "Shin" ש then came to the fore and pleaded: O Lord of the world, may it please Thee to begin with me the world, seeing that I am the initial letter of Thy name ShaDDaI (Almighty) שדי and it is most fitting to create the world through that Holy Name. Said He in reply: Thou art worthy, thou art good, thou art true, but I may not begin through thee the creation of the world, since thou formest part of the group of letters expressing forgery, "Sheker" שקר (falsehood), which is not able to exist unless the "Koof" and "Reish" draw thee into their company.

Hence it is that a lie, to obtain credence, must always commence with something true. For the "Shin" is a letter of truth, that letter by which the Patriarchs communed with GOD; but "Koof" and "Reish" are letters belonging to the evil side, which in order to stand firm attach to themselves the "Shin", thus forming a conspiracy ("KeSheR"), שקר. Having heard all this, the ש "Shin" departed.


40) In order to explain the above, it must be pointed out that two terminating points exist in "Malchut" (Kingdom); and that a terminating point is where the Line of Light of the Infinite is issued and brought to a stop because of an established boundary. Hence the light cannot shine beyond that point.

This sephirah "Malchut", which has the terminating point of the ת "Tav", is the last of the Ten Sephiroth of the "Partzuf Malchut": for each "Partzuf" has Ten Sephiroth filled with Light. Hence, the Sephirah "Malchut" is a Partzuf and has Ten Sephiroth the last of which is called "Malchut".

Consequently, the tenth Sephirah of the "Partzuf Malchut", that is, her last Sephirah, which is also known as "Malchut", is symbolic of the ת "Tav", the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which is the habitat of "Din" (Judgment).


41) The second terminating point above this "Malchut" is connoted "Yesod" (Foundation) of the "Partzuf Malchut", symbolizing the ש "Shin", the second letter in the reverse order of the Hebrew alphabet; that is to say: the letter above the "Tav" ת.

In other words, when the feminine polarity "Malchut" is still before its completion, whose emendation and correction has to be wrought through "Abba" and "Imma" (Father and Mother), the Sephiroth "Chochmoh" (Wisdom) and "Binah" (Intelligence); then it is considered that the ת "Tav", the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is the terminating point of the last Sephirah "Malchut", and this letter "Tav" issues forth rigid Judgments, meaning that the world is then governed by severe Judgment.

On the other hand, when the "Partzuf" Kingdom is built and perfected through the supernal lights which stem from Wisdom and Intelligence, known as "Abba" and "Imma", her terminating point is then the letter ש "Shin". The three heads of the "Shin" indicate that Kingdom is receiving light in her end point from the three Sephiroth Mercy, Judgment and Beauty that dwell in "Imma", that is "Binah" (Intelligence). The light is transmitted to her by way of the sixtn Sephirah "Tifereth" (Beauty).

This progressive emendation of Kingdom by Wisdom and Intelligence is pointed out in Numbers, 21:18: "BEIR CHAFORUHO SORIM." (THE NOBLES OF THE PEOPLE DIGGED IT).


42) By virtue of the light which was emitted from the three Sephiroth "Chessed", "G'Vurah" and "Tifereth" of "Binah", "Malchut" becomes an efficacious vessel to capacitate one hundred blessings from the Sephirah "Tifereth", her husband, connoted "Z.O" or "Zeir Onpin" (the Small Face) or the phase of the "lesser light". These blessings constitute the one hundred lights, which are the corrections and the fulfillment acquired by Kingdom.

This is expressed in Tractate Sannhedrin, page 22, thus: "A WOMAN MAKES A COVENANT ONLY WITH THE ONE WHO IS INSTRUMENTAL IN RENDERING HER TO BECOME A VESSEL FOR LIGHT"; for it is through these lights that are issued from the three Sephiroth of "Binah", of which "Tifereth" is the transmitting agent, that Kingdom becomes a receptacle for light, that is, the one hundred blessings transmitted to her through "Yesod" (Foundation) of the Sephirah "Tifereth" (Beauty), the husband of "Malchut".


43) As a consequence, this second terminating point, the "Shin", is connoted "Nekudah d'Emtzeita", the middle point of the inhabited world; for the entire settlement of the universe is issued from Kingdom, when illuminated by "Binah", the light of Intelligence.

The second terminating point of Kingdom, that is, ש the "Shin", which is raised to dwell above Kingdom, is called the foundation of the feminine principle: "Malchut" (Kingdom).

It is for this reason that the letter "Shin" is the letter of "Emet" (Truth) and also officiates as the signature of the King above; that is to say: just as the letter "Tav" is called "Chosem"; likewise is the letter "Shin" also connoted the "Seal": חותם "The signature of the King".

The word "Chosem" (seal) embodies various interpretations:

  1. It indicates the termination of a "Partzuf" (phase); just as the signature of a king appearing at the end of a letter or document written in his name;

  2. As a rule, the power of the signature of a king is as good as the power of the presence of the king himself. This is conveyed in the portion of the Zohar entitled "Tikkunim": "Emendation" (Tikkun) 22; where it is expounded that the signature of the king commands awe and respect just as the presence of the king himself.

It is because of this that the signature of the King ia connoted the ש "Shin", the latter that is the token of "Emet" (Truth) אמת.

This is also why all veracity is implied or discerned by means of the "Chosem" (Seal) or "Chosimah" (Signature).

However, the worth of the letter ש "Shin" towers above that of the letter "Tav"; for the "Shin" is a letter that is found in the name "Shaddai" which designates that the Creator, when issuing the worlds, enforced a limit of which the last part of the name has the last two letters: "Dalet" "Yood", which make up the word "DYE" (enough) in the name "Shaddai"; wherein it is inferred that the world should stop spreading further.

All this points to the fact that when the world was established with the efficacy of being able to produce a fit place for people to inhabit, it was terminated at the letter "Shin"; and through this letter, which is the Initial letter of the Holy Name "Shaddai" ( שדי), it was fitting for GOD to command the world to stop in its tracks from spreading further than the "Shin", which resides in the Sephirah "Yesod" (Foundation) of "Malchut" (Kingdom), that is, that it should stop from spreading as far as the ת "Tav".

As a result of all this, the second terminating point, which is the "Shin", is connoted "Nekudah d'Emtzaeese d'Yeshoovoh", that is, the middle point of civilization.


44) This is precisely the substance conveyed in the plea of the "Shin", who made her supplication before GOD, in which she pleaded before the Creator: "May it please Thee to begin with me the world, seeing that I am the initial letter of Thy Name "Shaddai" (Almighty), therefore, it is most fitting for thee to create the world through thy Holy Name "Shaddai".

The ש "Shin" made her appeal to GOD; seeing that the ת "Tav" was rejected due to the rigid Judgment inherent in her. The "Shin", ש therefore, thought to herself that GOD would choose her because the tempered quality of the "Shin" renders her fit for GOD to use her in creating the world since the "Shin" possesses all the merits that the ת "Tav" has; for the "Shin" too is considered to be the Seal of the King, which is "Emet" (Truth) and, in addition, she has another quality that makes her qualified for use by GOD in creating the world. Because of the ש "Shin", the name "Shaddai" is pronounced. The "Shin", too, was selected to be the terminating point of the feminine principle for the sake of the settlement of civilization and not the ת "Tav".

All this gave the ש "shin" cause and courage to approach the Creator to ask Him to choose her dimension of light as the instrument for Creation.


45) The Creator, in reply, made known to the "Shin" the following: "Your quality and merit are great; because of your great stature. Nevertheless, you are jeopardized by an opposition of inimical forces, that is, the "Klippah" (Shell).

The negative powers ruling over the darkness stand in opposition to your ruling over the lights; that is to say: the evil is at perpetual war with the "Kedushah" (holiness) and will always try to subvert your endeavors. The Creator said to the "Shin": "Sheker" שקר (falsehood and forgery) would never survive in the world, if it were not for your participation in the company of "Koof" and "Resh", ק"ר.

They are the two letters which, together with the ש "Shin" make up the word "Sheker" שקר (Falsehood).


46) There are two sources from which the "Klippoth" (the Evil Shells) derive their sustenance. One of which is a sort of a minute light, which the "Kedushah" (Holiness), of its own accord, in bestowing to them for their mere sustenance so that they may survive.

The "Klippoth" must not be destroyed while they are operating as the instrument to punish the wicked. However, this limited portion of light meted out to them, for the sake of chastisement, does not render them into a great build up; for it is indeed a very small light that is apportioned them by the Creator.

As mentioned before, it is but a light which provides them with life for their mere survival. This means that the masculine principle of the "Klippah" (the Evil Shell) has a body, that is, six lower Sephiroth without a head and its feminine principle has but a point without any extension at all.


47) We have learned above that the "Shine" reaching the "Klippoth" is transmitted to them through the "Koof", which light is just the initial power that gives them a chance to compare themselves to the "Kedushah" (holiness), spiritual man or phase found in the three worlds of the holy "B. Y. A.": "Briah", "Yetzirah" and "Assiah".

Just as the letter ק "Koof", designating "Monkey", who always tries to imitate man; so the evil "Klippoth", which avail themselves of the light, also, like the monkey, try to imitate the "Kedushah", which state of affairs is dramatized in Ecclesiastes, thus: "GOD also hath get the one over against the other?", which is to say, the evil powers who strive against the pure spiritual powers.


48) The sin of man constitutes the second channel whence the evil powers derive light in abundance. In other words, by way of the evil deeds of man, an avenue is created so that the sacred light oozes out to the "Klippoth".

The first breach in the "Kedushah", the Upper Lights, was wrought by the fall of Adam, when he ate from the tree of knowledge. It is because of this transgression that the evil powers grew into a great structure consisting of five phases and four worlds: "Atzilut", "Briyah", "Yetzirah" and "Assiah", similar to that of the "Kedushah" the Upper Lights.

This second source whence the "Klippoth" draw additional light from the "Kedushah" is symbolized by the letter ר "Reish". This letter indicates that the evil powers have the power to rise as far as "Binah", the Sephirah Intelligence of Kingdom, symbolized by the letter ד "Dalet".


49) As has been elaborated above, the twenty- two letters of the alphabet that reside in Kingdom are subdivided in Kingdom between "Binah", "Tifereth" and "Malchut" of the "Partzuf" Kingdom. The single ones abide in "Binah", the decimals in "Tifereth" and the hundreds in "Malchut".

As a result, we find that the ד "Dalet" of the twenty-two letters of "Malchut" is located in her at the beginning of the seven Sephiroth of "Binah" (Intelligence), which resides in "Malchut".

For the first three letters " Aleph", "Beth" and "Gimel", located in the first three Sephiroth of the head of "Binah" and from the "Dalet" and on; up to the letter ט "Teth" are located in the six lower Sephiroth of "Binah", that is, "Chessed", "G'Vurah", "Tifereth", "Netzach", "Hod", and "Yesod" of the Sephirah "Binah" in the phase of "Malchut".

The ד "Dalet" indicates the general deprivation and lack of light in "Malchut"; since "Malchut" by herself is basically in want of bounty as is known. It is only that which "Tifereth" (her husband) issues to her that she is provided with.


50) This measure of lack that "Malchut" is characterized with is indicated by the letter ד "Dalet" abiding within her. The letter ד "Dalet", when spelled out in full, means poverty and emptiness. The roof of the "Dalet" has a corner that protrudes. This indicates that "Malchut" is filled with the affluence of the light of mercy, which the ד "Dalet" takes from the "Gimel" ג above her. The ג "Gimel" is the letter that abides in the head of "Binah" of "Malchut". "Malchut" receives this light through "Tifereth", her husband, who is above her. "Tifereth", in turn, receives his light from the ג "Gimel" of "Binah" above "Tifereth". There in "Binah" is always an abundance of the light of "Chessed" (mercy).

This is why the letter ג "Gimel", when spelled out in full, designates remuneration, which means that "Tifereth" bestows upon "Malchut" the light of mercy.

In other words, "Malchut", which is symbolic of the letter ד "Dalet" indicates the want of light suffered by "Malchut".

This is dramatized in tractate Shabbos, p. 104; wherein it is said: "GAIMEL DALIM", which means "bestowing upon the poor".

All this is because the ג "Gimel", symbolic of "Tifereth", is bestowing light upon the ד "Dalet", designating "Malchut" (Kingdom). This is due to the prevailing condition of "Malchut", that is, her status of being void of all light. Thus, "Tifereth" abundantly bestows upon "Malchut" the light of "Chessed" (mercy).


51) The presence of the light of mercy in "Malchut" is shown in the protruding corner of the roof of the ד "Dalet" that is in her.

However, "Malchut's" opponent, which is the kingdom of the "Kedushah", the spiritual light, is symbolized by the expression: "V'NIRGON MAFRID ALOOF"; "THE SLANDERER SEPARATES THE KEDUSHAH"; that is to say: One who caters to evil, negates "Malchut" (the Earth) from having the illumination of the spiritual light (Proverbs, 16:28).

This may be compared to one who is evil and, although in need of sustenance; yet, due to arrogance, he refuses to accept assistance in the right way but behaves like a culprit and resorts to fraudulent means, that is, he snatches the bounty of others by force. The simile just presented is identical with the behavior of the "Klippoth" (Evil Shells).

Therefore, the "Citra Achara" is unwilling to receive from the ג "Gimel" and be subordinated to her. She maneuvers her sinister designs to seize more light than is apportioned to her; and audaciously raises her head, acting up as a rebellious mischief maker. Such behavior on her part erases the corner of the "Dalet", which constitutes the light of mercy, thereby incurring total deprivation of light to "Malchut d'Kedushah".

Consequently, this negation dealt upon "Malchut" by the "Klippoth", impoverishes her, causing her to become bereaved of all light; for the blotting out of the corner of the ד "Dalet" transforms the ד "Dalet" into the appearance of a ר "Reish", which word signifies "Poverty".

This is demonstrated in Ecclesiastes, thus:




52) The unity between "Malchut", the feminine principle and "Tifereth" is demonstrated in the word "Echod" (One).

The letters "Aleph" א and ח "Cheth" of the word "Echod" (One) designate the nine Sephiroth of "Tifereth"; for the numerical value of the first two letters of the word "Echod" is nine, which means that "Tifereth", the husband of "Malchut", bestows light upon her, which he receives from the ג "Gimel" residing in "Binah" that is above the "Partzuf Tifereth" and transmits this light to the ג "Gimel" of "Malchut".

In this manner, "Malchut" then symbolizes the ד "Dalet", whose projecting corner shows that she is pregnant with the light of mercy in great measure.

It is then that "Tifereth" and "Malchut" are turned into one flesh, that is, absolute unity. Consequently, man, by virtue of his evil deeds, accrues power to Kingdom of the "Citra Achara" (the other side), which results in the seizure of the ד "Dalet" ("Malchut" of the holy Sephiroth) by the evil powers.

They erase the ד "Dalet" indicative of the light of mercy and thus the evil powers turn the ד"Dalet" into a ר "Resh".

The word "Echod" is then transformed אחד into the word אחר "Acher" meaning that the word "Echod" dramatizing unity of the two phases "Tifereth" and "Malchut", which means somebody else, signifying the "Klippoth", the "Citra Achara" (the Evil Shells); and the identity of the unity of GOD disappeared and instead strange gods, that is, the evil powers, cling to the two lower phases "Tifereth" and "Malchut" of the divine powers.

This situation is dramatized by the verse:



53) When that befalls "Malchut" of the holy Sephiroth", it is considered that "Sheker" (Falsehood) of the evil powers rob for themselves the seal, which is the ש "Shin" representing the seal of truth and the foundation of the feminine principle, which is actually the receptacle of light which she receives from "Yesod" (Foundation) of "Tifereth".

In such event, the bounty belonging to "Malchut" is transferred to the other side (The Evil Powers). This is the occasion when the "Citra Achara" (Evil Powers) establish themselves by virtue of the expropriation of the ש "Shin" which actually constitutes "Yesod" (Foundation) of "Malchut" to themselves, that is, to the feminine polarity of the "Klippoth".

This robbery on the part of the "Klippoth" gives rise to the augmentation of the evil powers with ten complete Sephiroth having also a head.


54) The "Shin" that was the center of civilization, now, after the "Klippoth" have expropriated "Malchut" by taking the "Shin" to themselves; the "Shin" ש instead turned into the center of ruin, waste and desolation. It follows then that because "Malchut" was robbed of her light due to the sin of man, the evil powers became established; that is to say: they discovered four worlds: "Atzilut", "Briah", "Yetzirah" and "Assiah" of the "Klippoth" known as "Odom Bleyaal" (the wicked man).

The "Klippoth", through their pernicious designs, gained vigor and established themselves as a power, that is, from the very ruins of the "Kedushah", the sacred Sephiroth above, the "Klippoth" raised their heads over the "Kedushah".


55) However, in the main, it amounts to their snatching of the light and thereby drawing the "Shin" ש,the Foundation ("Yesod") of the feminine principle of the "Kedushah" (Holiness) to themselves, that is, into their own precincts, as though it belonged to them.

By violently pulling the "Shin" ש to their side, they have fraudulently substituted the ר "Reish" instead of the ד "Dalet".

To be specific, the Evil Powers have forged "the unity of GOD" by changing the word "Echod" אחד (One) into the word "Acher" אחר (Another).

This treachery is a total denial of "the unity of GOD". It is this forgery on the part of the Evil Powers that has devised unfairly a set of "Partzufim" (phases) of strange gods.

It follows then that the falsehood and forgery שקר "Sheker" would have had no chance of becoming established and thus emerge as a great power, were it not for the two letters ק ר, "Koof", "Resh" appertaining to the Evil Powers.

Through the instrumentality of the ק "Koof" ר "Reish", the Evil Powers misappropriate the ש "Shin" to themselves.


56) It has now been made to appear distinctly why the Creator answered the ש"Shin", thus: "Thou art worthy, thou art good, thou art true; but I may not begin through thee the creation of the world, since thou formest part of the group of letters expressing deception "Sheker" (falsehood), which is not able to exist unless the ק "Koof" and ר "Reish" draw thee into their company, as mentioned above.

In other words, the structure of forgery and the falsehood of the "Citra Achara" (the other side), is established due to the fact that the ק "Koof" and the ר "Reish" are able to expropriate the ש "Shin" to themselves.


57) It must be resolved therefore that GOD did not approve of using the dimension of the ש "Shin" as an instrument for the creation of the world for the reason that the "Klippoth" which stand opposite the ש "Shin" are equal in power to her, meaning that constant strife would ensue between the "Klippoth" and the ש "Shin". As a consequence, the accomplishment of bringing about the final emendation of "Malchut" could not have been brought about through the ש"Shin".

It is now understandable that in order for one to lie he must first place a bedrock of truth; so that his lie may be trusted; that is to say: if a lie is to obtain credence, it must always commence with something true; for the letter ש "Shin" is a letter symbolizing truth. It is a letter of "Emet" (Truth), which designates that the union of the Patriarchs is symbolized by the ש "Shin".


58) The three vertical lines of the letter ש "Shin" are indicative of the three Sephiroth, which are the pillars: "Chesed" (Mercy), "G'Vurah" (Judgment) and "Tifereth" (Beauty). Isaac symbolizes the left pillar "G'Vurah" (Judgment), as Isaac was a chariot to "G'Vurah". Jacob served as a chariot to the middle pillar "Tifereth" (Beauty). This is the reason the "Patriarchs" were always united with the Maker. Abraham symbolizes the right pillar "Chesed" (Mercy).

The letter ק "Koof" and the letter ר "Reish" belong to the evil side.


59) The "Citra Achara" (the other side), that is, the "Klippoth", is dramatized in the Hebrew word קר "Kahr" meaning cold; for, by themselves, the "Klippoth" have no warmth, that is life.

This is because the "Klippoth" are trying to draw sap from "Malchut d'Kedushah". However, this takes place only when the "Klippoth" proceed to draw light by fraudulent and sinister means. It is then that the "Klippoth" find "Malchut" to be in a frozen state. "Malchut d'Kedushah" is the only vessel for light in the upper worlds.

However, the "Klippoth" always find "Malchut" in a frigid state and no bounty can ever be transmitted from "Malchut" to the "Klippoth".

Therefore, in order for the "Klippoth" to draw more light than is due them, they then appropriate the letter ש "Shin" to themselves.

By means or this evil doing on the part of the "Klippoth", a conspiracy is formed that is dramatized by a firm and existing קשר "Kesher", designating a bond or a tie for the sake of plotting against the "Kedushah".

Having heard all this, the ש "Shin" departed.


60) In order to clarify the above somewhat more, it must be pointed out that the light of the three Sephiroth "Chesed" (Mercy), "G'Vurah" (Judgment) and "Tirereth" (Beauty) of "Binah" (Intelligence) which light reaches "Malchut d'Kedushah" through the transmitting agent, the Sephirah "Yesod" (Foundation) of "Tifereth", the husband of "Malchut".

The three lights which "Tifereth" imparts to "Malchut" precisely builds and restores the terminating point of "Malchut" and converts "Malchut" into an appropriate vessel, that is, "Malchut" becomes a receptacle for the one hundred lights (blessings), which are imparted to "Malchut" by "Tifereth", her husband.

The three Sephiroth "Chesed" (Mercy), "G'Vurah" (Judgment) and "Tifereth" (Beauty) bear the names or the Patriarchs, as above treated. This is conveyed in the words or the Zohar: "D'AVHOSOH ISYACHADOO BOH": that is to say: the Patriarchs united witn the "Shechinah" (Divinity) and communed with Her. This is the reason, therefore, that the "Shin" is defined as the word אמת "Emet" (Truth).

The ק "Koof" ר "Reish" however indicate that they belong to the evil side and thus distort the reality of the image of the "Kedushah" (Holiness).

Back to top
Site location tree