Illuminated Hebrew Letter Series - Ayin
Illuminated Ayin - by Adam Rhine
Watercolor on Paper

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“The eyes of all look to You with hope, and you provide them with their food in its proper time.” Tehillim/Psalm 145:15

Ashrei celebrates Hashem’s providential care – the Creator’s constant watchfulness over every element of creation. Here, the letter ayin means “eyes”, expressing the intimate connection between us and the Source of all that sustains us. G-d is all-knowing and actively present in every detail of our lives. How we surrender to this sense of Presence is the very nexus of spiritual practice and the way we conduct ourselves. Everything is infused with divine life, and since this is so, there is potential good in everything. It is asked of us to develop ayin tov “good eyes” so that we may lovingly discern the spark of holiness in all that exists, particularly in our fellow beings and in all life that challenges us. In so doing, as King David reminds us in the above verse, everything becomes “food”, a source of nourishment. How we look out into this world is how it is reflected back to us.

There are 70 Names of The Lord (according to the Baal HaTurim); 70 archetypal nations and languages; 70 Holy Days in the Hebrew calendar; 70 sages of the Sanhedrin; 70 years of King David’s life; 70 elders chosen by Moses.

The shape of the letter ayin can be seen as two eyes with optic nerves entering the brain.

May we see the Artist and Author in all things of beauty, in art and in nature.
May we see with the eyes of the soul, searching out G-d’s goodness in everything, as we are lovingly watched over.

Text by Louise Temple from the book "Hebrew Illuminations"