THE ALEF AND THE TAV
James Scott Trimm
In the King James Version of the Bible we read three times that Messiah says “I am Alpha and Omega” (Reveleation 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). In the Aramaic text of Revelation, as we read in the Hebraic Root Version, that Yeshua actually said “I am Alef and I am Tav.”
The phrase “I am Alef and I am Tav” has a very special meaning in Judaism.
We read in Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.”
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
The Zohar says of this verse:
BARA (ברא) represents the mysterious source from which the whole expanded. ELOHIM (אלהים) represents the force which sustains all below. The words ET HASHAMMAIM (את השמים) indicate that the two latter are on no account to be separated, and are male and female together. The word ET (את) consists of the letters ALEF (א) and TAV (ת), which include between them all the letters, as being the first and last of the alphabet. Afterwards HE (ה) was added, so that all the letters should be attached to HE (ה), and this gave the name ATTAH (אתה) (You); hence we read “and You (VE-ATTAH) (ואתה) keep all of them alive” (Neh. 9:6). ET (את) again alludes to YHWH, who is so called. HASHAMMAIM (השמים) is YHWH in his higher signification. The next word, VE-ET (ואת), indicates the firm union of male and female; it also alludes to the appellation VE-YHWH (ויהוה) (and YHWH), both explanations coming to the same thing. HA-ERETZ (הארץ) (the earth) designates an ELOHIM (אלהים) corresponding to the higher form, to bring forth fruit and produce. This name is here found in three applications, and thence the same name branches out to various sides.
Here we learn two important significations of the ALEF and the TAV in Genesis 1:1.
The first is that the ALEF and the TAV, being the first and last letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, are an abbreviation for all twenty-two letters.
Each of the twenty-two Hebrew letters represents one of twenty-two paths which connect the Sefirot of the Tree of Life. Each of these twenty-two letters represents a relationship between two of the Sefirot and a combination of two of the Sefirot. These twenty-two letters are part of the image of Elohim and they took part in the creation. When Messiah said that he is the ALEF and the TAV it was an abbreviation to indicate that Messiah the incarnate “Word” embodied the twenty-two letters. When Elohim created the heavens and the earth he did so through words. Elohim “said” things and they were so. Elohim created the universe by his Word, through the ALEF and the TAV meaning through the twenty-two Hebrew letters.
Each Hebrew word is more than a word, it is a matrix of dynamic relationships within the Godhead. Hebrew letters are also the building blocks of creation. In the upper worlds all things exist in their prime-material state as the strings of Hebrew letters and words which were the building blocks of creation. As we read in the Sefer Yetzirah:
Twenty-two Foundation letters: He engraved them,
He carved them, He permuted (TZIRUF) them,
He weighed them, He transformed them,
And with them, He depicted all that was formed
and all that would be formed.
(Sefer Yetzirah 2:2)
The Zohar gives us a second important significance to the ALEF and the TAV as they appear in Genesis 1:1 “indicates the firm union of male and female”.
Now we read in the Torah:
26 And Elohim said: Let us make man in our image; after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
27 And Elohim created man in His own image: in the image of Elohim created He him; male and female created He them.
(Gen. 1:26-27 HRV)
What does this mean? Let US make man in OUR image?
The Zohar gives a very interesting answer:
And Elohim said, Let us make man (Gen. 1:26). The secret (SOD) is to them who fear him (Ps. 25:14)…
That most reverend Elder opened an exposition of this verse by saying ‘Simeon Simeon, who is it that said: “Let us make man?” Who is this Elohim?’ With these words the most reverend Elder vanished before anyone saw him.
R. Simeon, hearing that he had called him plain “Simeon”, and not “Rabbi Simeon”, said to his colleagues: ‘Of a surety this is the Holy One, blessed be He, of whom it is written: “And the Ancient of days was seated” (Dan. VII, 9). Truly now is the time to expound this mystery, because certainly there is here a mystery which hitherto it was not permitted to divulge, but now we perceive that permission is given.’
He then proceeded: ‘A king had several buildings to be erected, and he had an architect in his service who did nothing save with his consent (Prov. 8:30). The king is the supernal Wisdom above, the Middle Pillar is the king below: Elohim is the architect above, being as such the supernal Mother, and Elohim is also the architect below, being as such the Divine Presence (Shekinah) below. Now a woman may not do anything without the consent of her husband. And all the buildings were created through his Emanation (aziluth), the Father said to the Mother by means of the Word (amirah), “let it be so and so”, and straightway it was so, as it is written, “And he said, Elohim, let there be light, and there was light”: i.e. one said to Elohim, let there be light: the master of the building gave the order, and the architect carried it out immediately; and so with all that was constructed in the way of emanation.
The Zohar understands “US” and “OUR” to be reflected in the “male and female” image of Elohim mentioned in verse 27 and these are here referred to as “the Father” and “the Mother” just as YHWH is expressed as a Father (Mal. 1:6; Is. 63:16; 64:7) and as a Mother (Is. 66:13) in the Tanak. (YHWH as a “Mother” is the “Comforter in Is. 66:13 which is the Holy Spirit in Jn. 14:16-17, 27; 15:26; 16:7).
The Male and Female image of Father and Mother are the Elohim which is the “Architect above” while the “architect below” is the “Elohim below” or the “king below” and identified as the “Middle Pillar”. Elsewhere the Zohar identifies the Middle Pillar as the “Son of Yah”:
Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off.
This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the Godhead,
which is the Son of Yah.
Here (Zohar 1:22a) the Zohar also identifies the Middle Pillar with the Word, and as the union of the male and female aspects of the Godhead, the ALEF and the TAV,
So the words “Let Us create man in Our own image” are spoken from the Father to the Mother (Holy Spirit) and this is the Elohim above, and these words are carried out by the Word which is the Son of Yah, the Middle Pillar, the Elohim below.
Just as we read in the Ketuvim Netzarim:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Eloah, and the Word was Eloah.
2 This was in the beginning, with Eloah.
3 Everything existed through Him, and without Him, not even one thing existed of that which existed.
(Yochanan (John) 1:1-3 HRV)
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