The 'mem', the letter of water symbolizes the fountain of Divine Wisdom of Torah. Just as the waters of a physical fountain (spring) ascend from their unknown subterranean source (the secret of the abyss in the account of creation) to reveal themselves on earth, so does the fountain of wisdom express the power of flow from the superconscious source. In the terminology of the Kaballah, this flow is from keter (crown) to chochma' (wisdom) . The stream is symbolized in Proverbs as 'nachal nove'a makor chochma', "the flowing stream, the source of wisdom".

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh- the Hebrew Letters- Channels of creative consciousness.

The water molecule is a fascinating and wonderful little unit. It's apparently simple enough: two molecules of hydrogen covalently bonded to one of oxygen. Each of these elements occur in nature in couplets as gases at normal temperatures but combined they are one of the most fundamentally important liquids known to man.

I won't even begin to go into the subtleties of the liquid itself, or its vitally important place in biochemistry- this is a davar Torah, not a biochemistry class! It is worth exploring the remarkable similarity between the water molecule and its Hebrew name- mayim: mem, yud, yud, mem.

Yud is basically one simple stroke and has a value of ten in 'Gimatria', Hebrew numerology. Mem consists of four strokes and has a value of forty.

The hyrogen atom- the simplest most fundamental atom found in the vast majority of stars, has an atomic number of one. The oxygen atom has an atomic number of 8. 4+4. You obviously ask- if we're going to try to equate the gimatrias with the atomic numbers, why would the oxygen be divided into two mems in the word mayim? Well, if it wasn't, I wouldn't have this davar Torah, but let's consider the creation...

Water itself was split. Hashem divided the upper and lower waters with the firmanent between them. Since the mem IS the primary letter of water we see this split right there. If we look at the word again we can easily see two things. In the centre is "yud yud"- Hashem's name. We also see the word for ocean 'yam' reflected in itself. This is highly significant in a kaballistic sense but I don't want to go further in that direction here, suffice it to point out Rav Ginsburgh's reference to divine wisdom.

What happens if you join the two memsinto one letter? Mem is forty, with all its significance. Double this (unify the mems, the split water), you get peh= 80. Peh is also "mouth" and signifies amongst other things that special faculty of human beings the co'ach hadibur- the faculty of speech. We can do many wonderful things, many wonderful unifications with the the faculty of speech, through our davenning, through our brachos and through our words of peace with our friends, neighbours and family.

What is a spiritual unification? In simple terms it is a connection between the upper and lower oceans. If you express the water molecule as it is without division you get yud, feh, yud - "yofi" - beauty.

copyright © 2002 gila atwood

return to torah page