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

For more information about this painting, email the artist at

“A remembrance of Your abundant goodness they will utter and of Your righteousness they will sing exultantly.” Tehillim/Psalm 145:7

Zecher “remembrance”, is the first word of this verse. We are commanded to remember the Sabbath, the seventh day and seal of creation, that commemorates completion and wholeness. The feminine presence of the Sabbath is called the Sabbath Bride, or Queen, and mystically signifies the marriage between G-d and Israel, the feminine aspect of the Creator being called the Schechina. On this holy day, realms of the soul are elevated to new awareness. The peace, or rest of the Sabbath day derives from the spiritual concept of completion – everything being in place for the purposeful work of the six days. We abstain from productive labor, and submerge ourselves in meditating on the perfection of the Source of all that exists and all that will unfold in the ensuing week. The seventh day is the soul of the physical and secular week.

The number seven also evokes the seven lower sefirot in the mystical teachings of the Kabbala, the commandments in the Torah which connect to multiples of seven – the Counting of the Omer, the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, and the seven shepherds of Israel – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.

The shape of the zayin is that of a vav whose head extends in both directions like a crown or scepter, reminding us that humanity is the crown of creation, created on the sixth day in the image of G-d, that we may reflect on this Sovereign gift on the Sabbath.

As King David reminds us, may we always remember who we are.

Text by Louise Temple from the book "Hebrew Illuminations"