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Mysteries of the Qabalah, by Elias Gewurz, [1922], at

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The Hieroglyphical Interpretation of the Hebrew Alphabet. *

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Some men strive after wealth; some would like to be strong and healthy; others again wish for fame and renown. But the wise ones apply their hearts to knowledge, so that knowing, they may understand the purpose of their lives and work out their destiny before the night cometh.

From the Writings of Moses Maimonides.

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‏א‎ A

Aleph.—Man himself as a collective unity, a principal, the lord and master of the earth. The universal man, and the human genre. Esoterically, unity, the central point, the abstract principle of a thing; as a sign it expresses power, stability, and continuity; the superlative, a kind of an article, as a prefix rendering the meaning more serious and enhancing its significance.

Its arithmetical value is 1.

‏ב‎ B

Beth.—The mouth as man's organ of speech, his interior, and his habitation; it denotes virility, paternal protection, and interior action, and movement. It is the integral and indicative article of the Hebrew language.

This letter in conjunction with the one preceding it—Aleph—forms all ideas of progress, of graduated advance, the passage from one state into another = locomotion.

Its arithmetical number is 2.

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‏ג‎ G

Gimel.—The throat, and everything that is hollow. It denotes every kind of opening, outlet, canal, and all manner of things concave, hollow, and profound, it expresses organic covering, and serves to produce all derived ideas of the bodily organism and its actions.

Its arithmetical number is 3.

‏ד‎ D

Daleth.—Signifies breast, bosom. It is the emblem of the universal quaternary, that is the origin of all physical existence. Symbolically: every nourishing substance, and abundance of possessions.

It expresses division, and things divisible. Chaldaic: an article of a very distinctive nature.

Its arithmetical number is 4.

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‏ה‎ H

Hai.—Everything that vitalizes, i.e., air, life, and being. It is the symbol of universal life, and represents the breath of man, the spirit, and the soul. Everything that vivifies. Life, and the abstract idea of being. It is an article, especially emphasizing and giving prominence to objects, and persons.

Its arithmetical number is 5.

‏ו‎ W

Waw.—Signifies the eye of man and becomes the symbol of light; it also represents the ear and becomes the symbol of the sound of the air, the wind. In its quality as a consonant it is the emblem of water, and represents the taste, and the appetite. As a grammatical sign it is considered to be the image of mystery most profound, and most incomprehensible, the symbol of the knot that unites, and of the point which separates Being and Non-being.

Its arithmetical value is 6.

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‏ז‎ Z

Zain.—Signifies whistling, and applies to all piercing noises which penetrate the air and reflect themselves in it. As a symbol it is represented by a stroke, a dash, and an arrow. Everything that tends to a given point. As a grammatical sign it is the abstract image of a tie which connects things with one another.

Its arithmetical number is 7.

‏ח‎ CH

Cheth.—Signifies the principle of vital aspiration and is the symbol of elementary existence. It represents the field of man, his labour, and everything that requires an effort on his part; his care, his solicitude. As a grammatical sign it holds a middle place between the sign of life absolute and the sign of relative life. It also is the image of equilibrium, and of equality, and attaches itself to all ideas of effort and of normal action.

Its arithmetical number is 8.

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‏ט‎ T

Teth.—Signifies an asylum, a refuge, which man provides for himself for his protection. As a grammatical sign it denotes resistance and shelter. Its esoteric meaning is that of a hiding wall erected to guard something precious, and a watch over a dear object in the midst of danger.

Its arithmetical number is 9.

‏י‎ J

Yod.—Signifies all manifested power. It represents the hand of man, his pointing finger. As a grammatical sign it denotes potential manifestation in contradistinction to actual, and also intellectual duration and eternity. As a consonant it is of inferior value and means only material duration. Plato thought it designated everything tender or delicate.

Its arithmetical number is 10.

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‏כ‎ Q

Kaaw.—Signifies every subject that is hollow in general, and the half closed hand of man in particular. As a grammatical sign it is the symbol of reflection and assimilation, and typifies the assimilative nature and the passing life.

It is a kind of mould, receiving and communicating indifferently all forms. The movement which it expresses is that of similitude and of analogy.

Its arithmetical number is 20.

‏ל‎ L

Lamed.—Signifies extension. As a symbolical image it represents the arm of man, and the wing of a bird; everything that extends or elevates itself, displaying its proper nature. It denotes a movement of extension, of direction, expressing reunion, coincidence, dependence, and possession.

Its arithmetical number is 30.

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‏מ‎ M

Mem.—Signifies woman. It is the symbolic image of man's mother and companion. Everything that is fruitful and formative. Employed as a grammatical sign it denotes maternity, external and passive action. Placed at the beginning of words it expresses that which is local, and plastic, while at the end, it becomes the collective sign. It develops a being in infinite space as much as its nature permits, or it unites through abstraction one or two of the same species. It is the extractive article, and is used to designate an action divided in its essence, or something taken out from a number of similar things.

Its arithmetical number is 40.

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‏נ‎ N

Mm.—Signifies the son of man, every being that is individualized, and distinctive. At the end of a word it denotes augmentation and extension. It has the double virtue of recoiling upon itself, and of spreading out. At the commencement of a word it expresses the former, while as a final it signifies the latter.

Its arithmetical number is 50.

‏ס‎ S

Samech.—Signifies to hiss. It is considered to be the type of a bow and esoterically represents the great cosmic bow, the string of which hisses in the hands of mankind. As a grammatical sign it is the circular movement having a definite relation to the limited circumference of every sphere.

Its arithmetical number is 60.

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‏ע‎ E

Aim.—Signifies hearing. It represents the ear of man, and its interior parts, and is the symbol of all noises, and indistinguishable sounds. Everything that is devoid of harmony. It typifies the cavity of the chest.

As a grammatical sign it stands for the material sense, the image of emptiness and nothingness. It is used to describe everything crooked, low and perverse.

Its arithmetical number is 70.

Pei, ‏פ‎ or P, meaning the Open Mouth, Value 80.

The symbol of expression, that through which man makes himself known in the outer world, hence the literal meaning, mouth; the Second Race of Man.

The outlet; the outward and visible means for the Spirits' manifestation.

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Tzaddi, ‏צ‎ or Tz, literal meaning Fish Hook or Dart. Value 90.

Esoterically relating to accomplished ends and the later Third Race.

The double hermaphrodite Caduceus.

The sign of protection and signifies guidance from above. God's favor shown to the Disciple on the Path.

Q-oph or Coo-eph. ‏ק‎ or Q, Value 100.

Literally the Ape, the sign of nature's submerged stratum; the Subliminal consciousness. The evolutionary stage which is behind us.

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Reisch, ‏ר‎ R, Value 200, literally Meaning Head.

Symbol of the Fifth Race, determination and progress, individual movement.

Independence, self-help, self-initiated endeavor.

Direction, a center of generating motion starting of its own accord.

‏ש‎ SH

Shein.—Signifies light movement, and sweet sounds.

Esoterically it symbolizes that part of a bow from which the arrow darts hissing. It is the sign of relative duration and of the movement appertaining to it.

At the commencement of a verb it gives it double power of conjunction.

Its arithmetical number is 300.

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‏ת‎ TAU

Taw.—Signifies reciprocity. The ancient Egyptians regarded this letter as a symbol of the universal soul.

It stands for sympathy, and for perfection, of which it is the emblem.

Its arithmetical number is 400.


5:* This interpretation of the hieroglyphic meaning of the Hebrew letters is taken from a very rare and valuable manuscript in possession of Mr. Gewurz. He has in preparation a larger work, on "The Restoration of the Hebrew Language," into which this manuscript will be embodied. Those who are interested in ancient languages, and the lovers of the Hebrew tongue especially, will find this larger work a great help in their studies. Mr. Gewurz has already devoted to it over ten years of untiring labour, but it may take another year till it is complete.

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