The Hebrew letter featured in this painting is the Resh.
Variant spelling - reish.
RESH is the 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 200. Resh makes a sound like the R in Radiant, and means BEGINNING or HEAD. When one spells out the letter Resh in Hebrew, it is Resh Yud Shin. Yud and Shin spell YESH - THERE IS. The letter Resh means BEGINNING. So it is possible to say that the Resh literally means THERE IS A BEGINNING.
[The writing of the letters] must be kethibah tammah [perfect writing]; thus one must not write the
the Dalet as a Resh or the Resh as a Dalet (Shabbat 103a).
Kuf [stands for] Kadosh [holy]; Resh [for] Rasha [wicked]: why is the face of the Kuf averted from, the Resh? The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I cannot look at the wicked. And why is the crown of the Kuf turned toward the Resh? The Holy One, blessed be He, saith: If he repents, I will bind a crown on him like Mine. And why is the foot of the Kuf suspended? [To show] that if he repents, he can enter and be brought in [to God's favour] through this [opening]. (Shabbat 104a).
A tanna taught: If one corrects one letter, he is culpable. Now, seeing that if one writes one letter he is not culpable. if he [merely] corrects one letter he is culpable?30 - Said R. Shesheth: The circumstances here are e.g., that he removes the roof [i.e.. the upper bar] of a Heth and makes two Zayyin thereof. Raba said: E.g.. he removes the projection of a Daleth and makes a Reshthereof.31
(30) Surely not.
(31) In a Scroll of one of the Biblical books. This constitutes a complete labour, because one may not permit a Scroll of Scripture to remain with an error
I am a scribe, and he said to me, Be meticulous in your work, for your occupation is a sacred one [work of heaven]; should you perchance omit or add one single letter, you would thereby destroy all the universe.(18) There is no need [for me to assure you] that I would make no mistakes in respect of words that are plene or defective, since I am familiar [with the subject], but [I have even taken precautions] against the possibility of a fly's perching on the crownlet of a Dalet and, by blotting it out, turn it into a Resh, for I have a certain ingredient, called vitriol, which I put into the ink. (18) By omitting e.g. , the Aleph in , Aleph Mem Tav (truth), the word would be abbreviated to Mem Tav (dead) Eruvin. 13a).
Sefer Yetzirah divides the Hebrew Letters into 3 categories: 3 mothers Aleph Mem Shin , 7 doubles Beit Gimel Dalet Kuf Pey Resh Tav and 12 elementals Hey Vav Zayin Chet Tet Yud Lamed Nun Samech Ayin Tsade Kuf.
According to Sefer Yetzirah, God created the world by means of these letters. The Resh is one of the doubles. He made the letter Resh king over Peace and He bound a crown to it and combined one with another and with them He formed
(Kaplan, Aryeh. 1990. Sefer Yetzirah. The Book of Creation York Beach: Samuel Weiser. 5, 95, 145, 147, 159, 176).
Zohar - The Shin 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), and it is most fitting to create the world through that Holy Name. Said He [God] in reply [to the Shin: Thou art worthy, thou art good, thou art true, but I may not begin through thee the creation of the world, since you form part of the group of letters expressing forgery, ShekeR (falsehood), which is not able to exist unless the Kuf and Resh draw thee into their company. (Hence it is that a lie, to obtain credence, must always commence with something true. For the Shinis a letter of truth, that letter by which the Patriarchs communed with God; but Kuf and Resh are letters belonging to the evil side, which in order to stand firm attach to themselves the Shin, thus forming a conspiracy (QeSheR)) (Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 1:2b. 9).
This work is accompanied by the kabbalistic explanation printed above.
The original 5x7 watercolor painting of this image is available.
mat color:: orange, yellow, magenta
stock number:: r4