By Rabbi Harry Zeitlin – 

Reflection on the Root OHR: “I’ve explored the Kedusha, holiness, of the individual Hebrew letters. One thing I’ve learned is that each letter is engineered, uniquely, to transmit infinite-while-still-unique Ohr, spiritual energy.

This life-energy is contained/expressed through several modes, including the sound the letter makes, its Hebrew name, what it means, and its numeric value. The name of each Hebrew letter is a word that has semantic meaning, for example ב, Bet, means “house” and ד, Dalet, means “door”. Hebrew letters also function as numbers, which yield additional meaning, as does the shape of each letter.

Additionally, since every letter can be generated from the smallest, point-like letter, י, Yud (which is the first letter of God’s Name, and thus represents that aspect of Him), each letter also contains various permutations and combinations of the Divine Names. Unseen in a Torah scroll (but visible in printed Hebrew), are the Nekudot, literally points, but functioning as vowels and the Ta’amim, musical notes (also known as trop marks), and these also contribute meaning beyond the actual sounds and melodies, and the tagim, upside-down root-like embellishments that appear on only a few letters.

Another level of meaning is generated by making anagrams of the letters that spell out the name of each letter. (Coincidentally, these are contained in a small book titled Otiot d’Rabbi Akiva, the letters of Rabbi Akiva). We’re also taught that more energy/meaning resides in the blank white spaces surrounding each letter than in the letter itself! And all of these letters combine not only sound and semantic meaning; they also have spiritual life-energy as they form into words by weaving all these previously mentioned energies into a single “fabric”.

Finally, here’s an insight that came during Pesach. I realized that an acceptable kavvanah might well be that as my eyes wash over the stream of letters which make up each of our daily tefillot, prayer services, even if I’m not able to focus consciously on meaning at any level, my neshama, soul, is bathed in exactly the energy I require at that instant. Even when I’m not even aware of the meanings of my words and sentences, and I have to admit that’s the case all too often, I am still interacting deeply with God. And, after all, that’s the whole point.”

Rabbi Harry Zeitlin is teacher of Talmud, Kaballah, Halacha and Chassidut. He has Orthodox smicha and teaches across the Jewish spectrum, including the Aleph (Renewal) Ordination Program as well as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Renewal synagogues world-wide. His teachers include Rabbis Shloime Twersky zt”l, Avraham Lapin zt”l, Chaim Zimmerman zt”l, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Nissan Applebaum and David Friedman. In additional to his Torah studies and teaching, Rabbi Zeitlin is also an internationally exhibited and collected artist (photography) and musician (improvisational guitar).

About Rabbi Zeitlin



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“This is the Light that I shine that you shine.”

Light, Orbs-of-Light, EnLighten, Shine, Shine-Light, Fire-Light

Genesis / B’reisheet 1:3

HaEl said


will be



there was


Genesis / B’reisheet 1:4-5

HaEl saw the


as good

and HaEl cracked apart

each from the other



and the dark |

and HaEl proclaimed the


to be day

and the dark to be night

and there came the evening

and there came the dawn

One day


Genesis / B’reisheet 1:16

HaEl made the two great


the greater


to oversee the day

the smaller


to oversee the night

and star upon star upon star


Genesis / B’reisheet 1:17-19

HaEl set them in the skies all vast to


the earth |

to oversee by day

and by night

and to divide the


from out of the


and HaEl came to see it was good |

and again came the night

and again came the day

and the days became four


Psalms / Tehileem 104:1-2

oh soul of mine bless HaShem

HaShem my El

you are expanding in my awareness |

clothed in glory and beauty

enveloped in a robe of


and spreading the skies

like a translucent tallit


Psalms / Tehileem 119:105

your Illuminated-Words are

a lamp for my feet

and a


on my path


Psalms / Tehileem 78:14

and HaEl guided them

in the day

by the mists all turning

and through the night





Isaiah / Yeshayahu 42:6



have called you in Righteousness

and I have taken you

by your hand

and treasured you

and I have made with you

an Everlasting-Covenantal-B’rit of peoplehood



the nations


Numbers / B’meedbar 6:24-26

may HaShem

bless you

and protect you |

may HaShem’s face


upon you in kindness |

may HaShem’s face

rise toward you

and bring you

to wholeness


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