The Chalom (Dream) Series - Hei
Chalom Hei - by Adam Rhine
Watercolor on Paper

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“Let me speak of the splendor of Your power and Your wondrous deeds.Tehillim/Psalm 145:5

Hei opens this line with the word, hadar, “splendor” or “glory”. This can also be referred to as hidden beauty, to which we are drawn and attracted.
The soul, we learn, possesses three means of expression, or “garments”: thought, speech and action. The shape of the hei corresponds to these garments – the upper horizontal line to thought, the right vertical line to speech and the unattached foot to action.

In all areas of the soul’s expression we aspire to cultivate an inner radiance or brilliance that will reflect the glory of G-d. Aaron, the Kohain Gadol, “High Priest” and brother of the Prophet Moses, elevated the souls of those who had transgressed in the proper use of the soul’s “garments”. Therefore he represents hod, (a derivative of hadar) a channel of divine flow in the kabbalah system of ten emanations. So humble and pure was he that G-d’s splendor could shine out fully through him, transforming with love those who had erred.

We can also see the hei as comprised of the letters, daled and yud. The daled forms the right side, acting as a door to the physical world, and the yud on the left denotes spirituality entering our lives. Moreover, the letter hei appears twice in God’s Holy Name, the tetragrammaton, as if mirroring itself.

As we reflect upon this letter may we be reminded of another word, hinani, “Here I Am,” a declaration made without hesitation by Abraham, Jacob and our teacher, Moses, when called directly by Hashem. Here I am to do Your Will, to serve You with all my heart and soul. May I connect my thoughts, speech and actions to You so that Your splendor will shine through me all the days of my life.

“Chalom” in Hebrew means “Dreams,” like that of Yakkov Aveinu (Jacob our Father) who dreamt of angels traveling up and down a ladder between heaven and earth. The gestural qualities of these paintings explore the dreamlike spiritual qualities of the Hebrew letters.

Text by Louise Temple from the book "Hebrew Illuminations"