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

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“Hashem is great and highly extolled, yet inscrutable is His greatness. Tehillim/Psalm 145:3

Here Gimel is the first letter of the word gadol, “great”. Sometimes luminaries and scholars are called by this term, and yet nothing we can conjure conceptually, in human terms, can even approximate the vast greatness of the Creator of all existence.

The letter gimel contains within it a great force and power. It also begins the words for “strength”, gevurah, and “might”, gibor. Its shape resembles a body (vav) with the attached yud as a foot extended to the left. We can see this as a person running to give charity to the poor, thus fulfilling the will of G-d, in one of the great acts of kindness entrusted to us. In this way we emulate G-d’s continuous and loving generosity towards us.

Gimel’s numerical value of three evokes our forefathers, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, Hashem’s presence in the holy matrimony between a man and a woman, and the three parts of the holy Torah: The Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and The Writings.

May we always recognize that the source of true greatness and strength in this world is derived from the One Infinite Being. True greatness comes from knowing this.

Text by Louise Temple from the book "Hebrew Illuminations"