The Smallest Letter of the Aleph-Bet

Why does the Havayah (Tetragrammaton) begin with the Yud? Because the Yud, (representing HaSHEM, the Holy, [Merciful – Unique] One) is the smallest (humblest) letter of the Aleph-Bet! Here, in This Week’s Parshah, VaYiqra we find that HaShem, The CREATOR of the Universe) made His (Greatness) Divine Presence rest within a Small Space (“Between the Cherubim” – over or above the “THRONE of MERCY – Shmoth 3.15, 25.22, 34.6-7) and “Called to Moshe – ‘with a still, small voice’ [1 King’s 19.12] from within the Tent of Meeting.”

Havayah and One

The gematria of Havayah is 26 = 2 • 13, where 13 is the gematria of “one” (אֶחָד). Thus, when we recite the Shema, “Hear O Israel, Havayah is our God, Havayah is One,” we are also expressing the relationship between these two words. Their ratio of 2:1 symbolizes the absolute unity of God and creation, in accordance with the principle of unification called a whole and a half.

As the saying goes, “As Above, So Below” (HaSHEM, is the Same – Does Not Change, is Consistently Elo-im, [Judge] “G-D” of the Universe – The Aleph of Elo-im is made up of Two Yud’s and a Nun Sofit – One Yud Above and One Yud Below with the Nun Sofit separating the two and connecting the two as ONE…!

We find in Tehillim 119.105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. AND, 112 I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes, for ever, at every step. {P}

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and signifies the number one. Aleph indicates the Oneness and Unity of the Creator. It hints that beyond the illusion of separation and duality is underlying Oneness – that nothing is separate and the Creator is the source of everything.

The shape of the Aleph is two Yods י , one above and one below, with a diagonal line, the Vav  ו , between them, representing the higher world and the lower world, with the Vav separating and connecting the two.

Aleph represents the creation of something from nothing. It is the essential symbol of beginnings and ultimate reality that cannot be talked about, timeless, spaceless, and present everywhere. It is the One that cannot be divided, representing perfection beyond human comprehension.

On the Other Hand, the Yud represents the Singular Essence of the Creator (which is why the Torah in Shmoth 3.15 states, “This is My Name Forever!” and Tehillim 119.89 states, “For ever, O L-RD, Thy word standeth fast in heaven.”); that INFINITE POINT of LIGHT – Yhi OrhB’rashith [Genesis] 1.3! It is that Light which encompasses and penetrates or fills all existence. SOVEV v’MEMALLE

The 10th Hebrew letter Yud is a dot or point. The Yud represents the Creator, the single point from which all of creation emerges, and the Unity within multiplicity. It is the foundation of all foundations, the hidden Divine spark which causes everything to be. It represents the power of the spirit to govern and guide the matter.

Yud is a symbol of the Holy One, the Creator, since the holy name starts with Yud. Small in form, the meaning of the Yud is great. According to kabbalistic tradition, all of creation came forth from a single point – a point which represents God’s infinite presence inside of the finite world.

Yud also represents the idea of Unity within Multiplicity, of one whole that is comprised of parts. Yud as we see is a single point, but its value is 10. It shows us that many grains of sand are used to make one pot, many pages make up one book, many drops of water make up the ocean. There are many occurrences in the world, but they all stem from One G-D, perfect and indivisible. It also represents the 10 Sefirot. In Yud, the multiplicity returns to unity.

The Yud is an infinite dot, the essence of all life. It is the foundation of all foundations. Everything comes from it and returns to it. It is a hidden dot beyond imagination – formless, the source of all thought, beyond all thoughts, beyond time and space. It is the secret hidden principle of the universe that we can’t perceive. It is the Divine spark of life that is in every single being. It cannot be grasped, but is in every cell of your body, causing you to exist. It has no mass or density, time or space. In it is the power of the spirit to govern and guide the matter of the material world.


This explanation of the Yud and Aleph is the essence of the phrase אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה “Eh-yeh Asher Eh-yeh“, [which literally means “I will be what I will be” and is often translated “What will be, will be”].


Ehyeh asher ehyeh
retzeh al am’cha
ush’ma t’filati
mime’on kod’shecha

Hineh ani chosef leveit mik’dashecha
lir’ot ge’on uz’cha vehod hod’ratecha

Rachem yechidati
asher hi negdecha
katzer legaluti
ani nish’an becha

Hineh ani chosef…


Hebrew words


Rabbi Shalom Shabazi
Avihu Medinah
Sadnat Sh’chunah Hatikvah
Tzlilei Hakerem
Uri Shevach
Ofra Haza
Words transliterated by George Jakubovits of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



One thought on “The Smallest Letter of the Aleph-Bet

  1. The mystics explain that the Divine energy flows into this world through the Hebrew letters of the Torah. The oversized letters represent the Divine attribute of chesed (“kindness”), and the small letters are associated with the attribute of gevurah (often translated as “might,” which is associated with restraint and withholding of His radiance).


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