Ramchal provides us with this fine encapsulation of the whole concept of the letters and Divine names in Adir Bamarom (p. 160), where he says that “the twenty-two letters (of the Aleph–Bet) are the root of all of created phenomenon. The point is that the letters are the various elemental lights which bring about all created entities when those letters are combined and permutated in various ways. This is the matter of the two-hundred and thirty-one Aleph-Bet groups”. This last point alludes to the 231 possible two (non-identical) letter combinations generated by the 22 letters of the Aleph–Bet which is cited in Sefer Yetzirah.
He offers another element: the fact that “each and every letter is comprised of different (pictorial) elements which are themselves letters. (So for example, the letter) א (is made up of the letters) ‘, ו, and ‘ (as we cited above); (the letter) ב (is comprised of) three ו’s, and the like”. Thus, each letter also serves as a combination of letters which all factor into the mix.
Moving on to the Diviner names, he says there that “the bases of the makeup of the letters are the four letters of God’s name (י-ה-ו-ה)”. For, “there are two fundamental elements of the lights: points and surfaces”, which is to say that lights — i.e., the letters — are either one, two, or three (or more) dimensional. The letter י, for example, is considered to be a “point” relative to the other letters, while ה is multi-dimensional, and ו is considered a two-dimensional letter. All of these figure into the ability of the twenty-letters to interface with these four more basic letters of God’s name.
This concludes Section Five. I’m going to break-off for a while to review this section on my own, then we’ll move on to Section Six, “ The Tzimtzum and Kav” which is comprised of Petachim 24-30.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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