The Hebrew Alphabet -
The Letter Ayin (ע)

ע

The Letter Ayin (ע)

The Hebrew word for eye is also עַיִן (ayin). So just from the name of this letter, we can understand that it symbolizes the world of sight. However, it does not only refer to regular, physical sight. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, through regular, physical sight, we can reach an internal and spiritual form of sight.

Someone who has the letter ע in their name is a big-hearted person with a constant desire to help others. They identify and empathize with the distress of the unfortunate. They are people without an ego, and all they want is to see that things are good and go well for others. Many of them become teachers or guides. They have a strong imagination and inner strength.

In Biblical and literary Hebrew, a spring which is a מַעְיָין (ma’ayan) is also called an עַיִן (ayin). If one looks at a spring from afar, it reflects the sky and appears as if it’s an eye seeing the view. This teaches us about creativity and thinking outside the box.

The עַיִן (ayineye reflects our emotions. According to Eastern wisdom, the eyes also reflect our physical and psychological health. In fact, there is an entire branch of Eastern medicine based on this concept, and it is slowly gaining recognition also by conventional medicine.

Despite all the benefits of the eye, there are also detriments. The most prominent of them is that the eyes cause people to be jealous of others based on what they see. Therefore, those who have the letter ayin in their name have to be careful of this.

The numerical value of the letter ע is 70. Scholars point out that there are two words with this collective numerical value: יַיִן (yayinwine (10+10+50) and סוֹד (sohdsecret (60+6+4).

There is an ancient Jewish idiom that says: “When wine goes in, secrets come out.” We can understand from this the connection between wine, secrets, and the eye. Because the eye desires the wine, more than the body needs, more secrets come out. In this case, the secrets also refer to our personal discipline, which is often let go after too much wine and we should be careful to guard it.

In the days of the Holy Temple, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests would bring 70 sacrifices in honor of the seventy nations of the world. The number 70 represents the harmony between the Nation of Israel and rest of the nations. It is thought that nowadays the entire world is negatively affected because there is no Holy Temple and sacrifices are not brought.

Commentators say that a person has two eyes – one to see the wonders of the Creator and the cosmos, and the other to see the smallness of himself.

However, the word עִיוֵור (i’verblind (person) also starts with the letter ע. This is to teach us that the fact that we can see, doesn’t mean that we always understand correctly what we see. This shows just how much physicality can cause us to make mistakes and misunderstand things.

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