Aleph, Head of a bull, the name of God, Yin and Yang

 

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its symbol is that of The Bull’s Head. It is related to the Age of Taurus, the primordial beginnings of human consciousness. (see hyperlink The Aleph Age of Taurus). It has a value of ‘1’, but also a value of 1000 by virtue of its pronunciation, ‘eleph’ which means ‘one thousand’ in Hebrew. In accord with Kabbalistic theory in the evolution of the universe there are 1000 worlds, and that 974 worlds have already past and 26 worlds still remain. The reason and importance of ‘26’ will be seen in below (hyperlink to 26) (photo of aleph)

The singleness and unity of aleph represents the one and only God, the creator. It represents the most primordial form of God, from which all things pervade. The ‘1’ also represents the power of the universe in its state of singularity before it divided into the world of duality at the time of the act of creation, (See hyperlink Beth). The word for ‘1’ in Hebrew, achad is spelt aleph-chet-daled אחד having values 1-8-4 totalling 13 and it is for this reason that in Hebrew morning prayers the thirteen articles of faith, indicating the unity of the universe and the thirteen qualities of God.

The Aleph and Duality

If we examine the letter aleph carefully we see it is actually a composite of three letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Where the letter yod is on the upper right side and lower left side, and which are both linked by the letter vav, across the centre. (See photo of aleph). The letter vav means hook (See hyperlink Table 1). The yod has a value of 10 and is related to the ‘1’ at the next decane level and therefore symbolises the conscious form of God. Hence the pictogram of the letter aleph, apart from representing the ancient bull of the Age of Taurus, represents the yod in heaven and the yod of the earth drawn together by a hook, or two forces that are held together by the hook. Ultimately the letter aleph represents the world in a state of harmony and the interdependence and co-joining of the two opposites, heaven and earth through the vav, the hook.

So, although the aleph has the value of singularity, there is already incorporated in the form of the letter the state of duality (for the world cannot exist without duality). This duality is the key to the process of creation as described in the first chapter of Genesis (See hyperlink the first story of creation).

Upon further examination of the letter aleph, one cannot dismiss the similarity of this pictogram with that of the yin-yang sign, or double fish, that is fundamental to Chinese philosophy and to the I Ching or Book of Change (See external hyperlink Richard Wilhelm Book of Change). If a circle is placed around the aleph it becomes the yin-yang sign[1]. (photo of the aleph and the yin-yang symbol). The yin-yang pictogram in itself is an interesting symbol, since it also represents the world in its state of harmony and in a state of change. The two sides of the yin-yang symbol contained in a circle represent the two states of opposites in the world: heaven-earth; male-female; hot-cold; good-evil etc. The containment in the circle demonstrates the limitations of the two opposites, so that if one of the opposites expands so the other must, by default, contract. For example, as there is more ‘good’ in the world, so there will be less evil and vice-versa.

In addition, the two dots imbedded in the each half of the pictogram and which comprise the two yods in the aleph pictogram, are like seeds. Such that if the seed of yin placed in the side of yang expands and grows, so the yang will change and become yin, and vice versa. Simplistically, a person who is good can become evil, and a person who is bad can become good through cultivation of the seed, or more pertinent Earth always contains a seed of heaven and heaven contains a seed of Earth.

The Aleph, twenty-six and The Name

As indicated above, the letter aleph comprises two yods separated by a vav. The numerical value of the aleph comprising yod-vav-yod is therefore 10+6+10 =26. Twenty-six is value of the tetragrammaton, the forbidden name of God, that should not be pronounced by the human tongue, YHVH, יהוה spelt: yod (10) + heh (5) + vav (6)+ heh (5) =26.

Upon further examination of the letter aleph, one cannot dismiss the similarity of this pictogram with that of the yin-yang sign, or double fish, that is fundamental to Chinese philosophy and to the I Ching or Book of Change (See external hyperlink Richard Wilhelm Book of Change). If a circle is placed around the aleph it becomes the yin-yang sign[2]. (photo of the aleph and the yin-yang symbol). The yin-yang pictogram in itself is an interesting symbol, since it also represents the world in its state of harmony and in a state of change. The two sides of the yin-yang symbol contained in a circle represent the two states of opposites in the world: heaven-earth; male-female; hot-cold; good-evil etc. The containment in the circle demonstrates the limitations of the two opposites, so that if one of the opposites expands so the other must, by default, contract. For example, as there is more ‘good’ in the world, so there will be less evil and vice-versa.

In addition, the two dots imbedded in the each half of the pictogram and which comprise the two yods in the aleph pictogram, are like seeds. Such that if the seed of yin placed in the side of yang expands and grows, so the yang will change and become yin, and vice versa. Simplistically, a person who is good can become evil, and a person who is bad can become good through cultivation of the seed, or more pertinent Earth always contains a seed of heaven and heaven contains a seed of Earth.

It should be noted that 26 is 2 x 13, and where 13, as indicated above, is the numerical value the word achad meaning ‘1’ representing God, singularity and unity of the universe. Hence once again we see God, as unity and the power and singular force of the universe, is divided into two powers that could be simplistically described as God in Heaven and God on Earth, but more specifically denotes the dualistic nature of the universe after the act of creation. Before the act of creation the Earth was without form, and void (Genesis I:2) –i.e. it was in a state of singularity - but at the time of creation singularity ceased to exist and was replaced by a dualistic world. It is for this reason the first letter of the Bible begins with a letter beth ב with a value of 2 and not with the letter aleph א as one might expect with the opening letter of the Bible phrase (See hyperlink Beth the act of creation).

The question arises that even though the letter aleph and the tetragrammaton YHVH have the value of 26, why is the letter aleph represented as a yod-vav-yod (YVY) with the yod on either side of the vav, whereas in the Name YHVH (yod-heh vav-heh) the yod, with a value of 10, is effectively split into two parts, comprising two hehs, each with a value of 5 and which are placed on either side of the vav.

One is cautious to comment or simplify any form of interpretation of the Holy word YHVH, where scholars and Jews will never utter the word and in preference use the term THE NAME, Ha Shem, in Hebrew when wishing to verbalise YHVH. Similarly, rather than writing the full form yod-heh-vav-heh, the term is preferentially written yod-yod. However the question begs an answer as to the difference between the pictogram aleph with a value of 26 and THE NAME with a value of 26.

In effect a transformation has taken place between the moment of singularity before the creation of the universe and the moment of duality at the point of creation of the universe. Consider the drawing below where the letter aleph is transformed to a new form in which the yod is split into two hehs straddling across the vav, the hook (See Table of numerical values) which is drawing the two sides together (see drawing). On the ‘heaven side’ of the vav there is a yod and a heh with a value of 10+5 =15 and on ‘the earth side’ of the vav there is only one heh with a value of 5. The total value of the combination of the yod and 2 hehs is 20 which can be described as the total combination of the energy forces. The ratio of the 5 on the earth side to the total forces 20 =1:4 which is described in more detail in (see hyperlink The second story of creation).

Returning to the diagram insert diagram YHVH effectively there is an imbalance between the two sides of the vav. In many respects the vav may be seen as a membrane separating the heh and the yod-heh combination. Anyone who is slightly familiar with semi-permeable membranes or biological systems will know that when there is an imbalance in the concentration of salts or ions across a semi-permeable membrane so a difference in potential is created across the membrane and there is a flow of the ions across the membrane to bring the two sides into equilibrium. The same is envisaged here where, because of the imbalance between the ‘earth’ containing only the heh and the heaven containing the yod-heh, there is a flow of energy (ions) from heaven to earth. The importance of this flow and the difference between the yod-vav-yod form of the letter aleph and the yod-heh-vav-heh form of the tetragrammaton YHVH is quite profound since it implies in a metaphysical manner the process of transformation from before the act of creation, the time of singularity and after the act of creation with the creation of duality[2].



[1] The origins of the Yin-Yang sign are not known. There have been many attempts to date it to the times of the primordial period of Chinese civilisation during the Xia Dynasty (circa 2205-1570 BCE) in accord with symbols found on stone carvings. But these can hardly be substantiated. Much more likely, the yin-yang symbol evolved long after the formation of the I Ching whose earliest concrete reference was made during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045-771BCE). The earliest viable reference to the yin-yang symbol is attributed to Xiao Yuan who lived during the 12th Century CE, during the Song Dynasty. Interestingly enough the first Jewish settlement in China took place during the late Tang and early Song Dynasty when the Silk Road trade routes were flourishing and Jew and Moslems settled in the city of Kaifeng, the then capital of China. Could it be the Chinese yin-yang symbol had Semitic origins?

[2] An answer may partly be found in the Babylonian description of the creation of the universe. And without wishing to simplify or personify God in any manner, the Babylonian story of creation, as with other cultural definitions of creation, does have its basic’s embodied in truth. In the story, Tiamat, who is the goddess personifying the primal saltwater ocean, couples with Apsu, the freshwater ocean and gives birth to many gods, including Ea. Ea fathered Marduk, who became the supreme god. Ea killed Apsu and in revenge Tiamat attacked Ea. In the battle that ensued the other gods then chose Marduk as their leader. Marduk slew Tiamat, and cut her in two. One half of her corpse became the heaven, the other half the earth. Depictions of Tiamat portray her as a dragon or similar monster, which represents the embodiment of the primordial chaos that must be overcome before the ordered cosmos can arise.

If one reads Genesis I:1-10, the first three days of creation one can see a distinct parallel between the Biblical story and the Babylonian story, where after the initial infusion of energy as light, water dominates the process of creation. The theme of water also dominates the second story of creation as described in Genesis II:6-15, in the form of rain, mist and rivers. This shall be discussed later in (See hyperlink The second story of creation).

The story is important since in Genesis I:2 which reads ‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; And a wind from God moved upon the face of the waters:

The term for the deep in Hebrew is Tehom, which is analogous to Tiamat in the Babylonian story. The Babylonian story of creation is therefore analogous to the transition process from the pictogram of the letter aleph with a gematric format 10-6-10 and to the subsequent image of YHVH, 10-5-6-5.

In the initial phase of creation the pictogram of aleph can be seen to represent the image of the coupling of Tiamat and Apsu, indicated by the 2 yods and which are linked together by the vav, the hook. Subsequent to co-joining of the two, i.e. the act of creation, the form of YHVH comes into being, with a gematric format 10-5-6-5. Thus The Supreme G-d is represented by Marduk, with a value of 10, the division of Tiamat into two and one part becomes the heaven (5) and the other the earth (5). The heaven and the earth are linked together by the vav (6), thereby completing the tetragrammation 10-5-6-5 which is has transformed from the original form of the aleph 10-6-10.

 




 
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