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by Y. I. Hi (Yitzhak Hayut-Ma'N)


Part: 2 - a

I left and went to walk in the field. and the dread vision striking fear in my heart. A few words keep echoing and reverberating in by head. Ishmael's words about the desert, and the words that issued forth from my mouth as response, about the desert, Midbar, as desert and as the speech of God. "Is it possible?" I thought, "Is it possible that all the hills, and the rocks in front of me, the plains, the valleys, the plants - all these are the speech, the utterances and words of God? Is therefore he who is called "Yishmael" who can find his way in the desert-Midbar? God speaks - and he hears? Perhaps that is why he is essential for the fateful journey? Perhaps he is the only one of us who knows to hear and to listen?"

In my head were now echoing the words of an old story, which my father used to tell me in my childhood: the story about our fore-forefather, ADAM, how he was created, and how every bush and tree was created, all from the speech utterances and words of God: "and no bush of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet grown: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no Adam to till the ground." The key must indeed be the hidden name of God which calls everything into being. His Words create. Maybe it is the letters of His Name that transform. And if so, maybe that is a key to the letters of His secret Name? The story was about God creating ADAM and every bush and tree. Now then, the word 'ADaM' (àãí), which means man, is related to the word 'ADaMaH', namely 'earth' (àãîä) by adding the Hebrew letter 'Heh' (ä). And ADAM was made from earth. And the word 'bush' (Si'ah - ùéç) is transformed into the word 'conversation' (Siha - ùéçä) by adding the same Hebrew letter 'Heh' (ä). Did God make the bush by conversing. And the word 'tree' (ETz - òõ) is transformed into the word 'advice' (ETzaH - òöä) also by adding the Hebrew letter 'Heh' (ä). Isn't advice the speaking of the right words, and God made the tree by uttering the right words. The letter 'Heh' is what transforms here. Is the letter 'Heh' His Name? or included in His Name? I better try to pronounce the Name, it is not enough to see it written. Ishmael, who does not know to read and write, must be pronouncing the Name. Which one of us will succeed in approaching the secret of God, my brother Ishmael who hears, or I Isaac who sees visions and reads letters?"

I closed my eyes and uttered the letter aloud, pronouncing it as "Heh": simply breathing, inhalation and exhalation, exhalation and inhalation, again and again, and feeling as if my life was hanging upon it. "To inhale and exhale, inhale and exhale". Action and thought became one, "to clean myself, to introduce the Name into my self, to introduce the 'Heh' which is in His Name, to insert the other letters, to let the letters form my mind.....". For what seemed like hours, I continued to inhale and exhale, to introduce His emanation and His Name, so that I could know what to let out in my prayer and what to give back to Him, so that I could receive from Him and give out to Him. "Inhalation and exhalation." I thought and felt and knew, "This is surely the secret of the universe. This is all there is to man. The sun rises and sets. Man breathes in and out, Everything is recurring. Receiving and giving." Then I noticed that the sun had risen and has now passed its zenith, and remembered that father was used to rising up early to pray, when the sun rose; whereas I - I thought - My hour of prayer, unlike father's, comes in the afternoon, when the sun already starts to set down and lower itself. Perhaps this is the time for man, after one has drawn in the gift of the heavens, to let it out. To let out and give out. To give and to receive. To receive and to give out. To inhale and to exhale. To inhale and to exhale. The 'Heh'. That's it, the 'Heh'.

And I thought I began to perceive something. Between one 'Heh' and another 'Heh', the inhaling and the exhaling of the air, between the incoming 'Heh' and the outgoing 'Heh' - there is something else, something that connects. By the order of the Hebrew alphabet, following the fifth letter, 'Heh', there is the sixth letter 'Vav'. The letter 'Vav' connects, it literally means 'connecting hook'. It is used as an 'inverting hook' when it transforms from past to future tense and from future to past tense. And it is used as a 'connecting hook' when it connects words and phrases. A letter that lets connection be made. And it is God that connects past with future and future with past. The secret of connecting, the secret connection that ties and unites everything. Is this another letter of His Name? Perhaps this is the secret name of God: Heh Vav, Heh Vav. Or is it Vav Heh, Vav Heh? The He that calls into being and the Vav that connects. Is this His Name? Heh Vav, Heh Vav, Heh Vav? Perhaps just: Heh Vav Heh? or: Vav Heh Vav?

For hours I tried these combinations and began to feel: forces were forming within me, forces that I had not hitherto known. I kept on repeating the letters, and I was amazed by the forces. And I wondered: Has the Name of God been revealed to me today? I felt so amazed as I felt that  these are the same forces that bind, that sustain and form the whole wild world. Yet I sensed that I miss a small thing, some additional point, which glistened for a moment, which I almost caught - but vanished, something which would give the very revelation of God. Yet I was all agitated by this revelation of the letter Vav. I never realized before that this Vav was the sure peg, which connects and includes everything. The Vav of transformation between past and future. The Vav of connection between me and you, between me and her.

But something was still missing. Something was still hidden. So I prayed to God for help. "Oh teach me, Heh Vav Heh, teach me thy ways. Show us tomorrow the place of Your Presence. Make me understand, Heh Vav Heh, how we shall understand your ways. Show us the place that was designed for this, whether it is a place from the soil of which we shall extract stones, or the place from which the letters and the words and the knowledge will spread. Show us the place, the Makom..

The more I repeated the word - the 'Makom-place', the place - I felt again something strange rising up within me. I wondered how can there be a place for the creator of the world within the world he had created? How very strange! Could He be limited to a specific point within the world He had formed? Father - perhaps he had formed people, perhaps he had fashioned those Golems. Perhaps he had - and perhaps he had not. But God? He had created and formed everything! The whole world and all that resided in it! all the various peoples who increase and multiply, and the animals, and the insects, and all the plants. Could He limit Himself to a single point within the world? This whole world must be smaller than He, just as the statue is smaller than its maker. Could He confine Himself to a single point? Maybe it was the converse? Maybe He has no place in the world, but perhaps the world is within Him? Perhaps He is the place of the world? For if God would confine Himself and reveal Himself in a point, a point of time or a point of place - it would be a terrible thing! This confined point would contain more than there is in the whole wide world. It would be a point of a mighty and terrible force. And if a man was to touch that point, could he endure it? I began to pray again. "Holy God of the world, Heh Vav Heh, who binds everything, who comprises everything, accompany me on the journey, give me power to endure everything. Give me power to contain Thy revelation, at the point whence Thy Name will be blessed, the point whence Thy Name will be revealed."

Then my thoughts returned to turn the letter Vav of His Name, which I have discovered. This Vav which connects the opposite sides, what is it? How many sides does each thing has? Above and below, right and left, front and back. Altogether - there are six sides, and all these need to be united in the goal to contain the truth. Therefore there are six that must participate. Six that are far from each other, each one - an edge, and still bound together, around the same peg. And six will set out tomorrow on the journey. Father, Ishmael, Eliezer and I. Who shall be - therefore - the additional two who must join us? Then the terrible vision suddenly returned in a flash. Returned to hit as a lightening: the flash of light upon the knife that my father holds in his hand and aims at my neck, and behind him I see an evil face, not the face of God but someone different altogether. I must pray to God." 

Instantly I started to pray again. "God, the Name, Vav Heh, Vav Heh, the Vav that binds all, have mercy on me. God, You sent me a sign, a sign that is a letter, for is not the word 'sign' (Ot - àåú) the same as the word 'letter' (Ot - àåú)? It was the letter 'Heh" that transforms, just as You do. It must be a letter of Thy Name. Then God, You sent me still another sign in the form of the letter 'Vav', the hook that connects the past to the future, the Vav that connects all the six opposing sides. It must also be a letter of Thy Name. Oh God, You who helps and facilitates, who comprises Transformation and Connection, please help and guide me. tomorrow, when we set out on our journey, to find Thy place, the place where You will be revealed to us. Six of us will be tried and tied and will be united in Thy connection, but who shall they be? I shall be following father, ahead of me, a father and son, and son becomes father, an ongoing chain of generations. To my right, Ishmael. To my left, Eliezer. But who is behind, who is above me and who is below? Surely You are above. But who is behind me, following at my back? And who below, beneath me?"

When I uttered this prayer, I suddenly saw a glimpse of lightning, like the flashing of light on a sharpened knife, and my father was standing in front of me, swinging the knife to my bare throat. And I saw beyond him and behind me, behind him but also behind me. There stood the Angel of Death.

So I knew who would be the fifth who would set out on our journey. The Angel of Death would tread on my heals all the time. He would follow after all of us, waiting for a victim, waiting for the one of us who would give up his life. And very likely - this one would be me. Or else, why the insanity in the eyes of my beloved father, why the terrible anxiety, why his desperate plea that I pray? He must fear that this journey would bring my end. It would be my blood that would fertilize and flow to the soil, my own blood that the dust would make into a dough, a bloody dough, a dough of blood and soil, from which a new life could be formed.

And I knew that a dreadful ritual would take place there, in the Land of Moriah, on one of the mountains. A dreadful and terrible God would be revealed there. The God who could have commanded my beloved and loving father to sacrifice me. And the greatest trial of them all would not be the trial for my father - but mine. The questions poured into my mind. "Would they all circle around me and bind me, against my will? Ishmael to the right, Eliezer to the left, would they hold my hands when father swung the knife upon me? Each one of them probably wants my death, in order to inherit from father. But what would be the benefit of my dying there? Should I resist - or participate in that cruel ritual? I recalled father's pleading with me to pray to God. I can do nothing but pray. I prayed to God to explain to me the terrible secret: that God would be revealed to me and justify the terrible sacrifice demanded of me, and of father. Perhaps we simply cannot fathom the divine plan to its full? "Perhaps," I thought, "there is an answer which lies with the sixth companion who will journey with us! Who can this be? If the fifth is the Angel of Death, would also an Angel of Life accompany us?" And I knew that I had to find out who the sixth member of our party was to be.

I again became absorbed with the contemplation of the signs and the letters that had come to me. "Vav Heh Vav Heh, Heh Vav Heh Vav", over and over I said them. Inhalation and exhalation, and I in the middle. The world entered me, the world came out of me, and I was in the middle, connecting the past and the future. I was bewildered by it all, wondering and repeating: "Vow, what will happen, Vav Heh Vav Heh, Heh Vav Heh Vav", when all of a sudden my intense contemplation was broken by a loud bleating and braying. It was the braying of a donkey "Hee Ah Hee Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ha Hee Ah Hee Ah." The braying of a complete ass.

Next ... Part 2 - b

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