The Letter Mem (מ)
This letter has two different forms – the regular letter מ and the special final letter ם.
The regular letter indicates the revealed – everything that we see in creation and understand in the simplest way.
This letter מ is closed on all sides, except for a small opening on the bottom. It also has, on the left side, a little piece pointing upward towards the heavens. This piece, together with the open part at the bottom, indicate the combination of heaven and earth which allows us to understand the physical aspects of the creation.
The final letter form ם is completely closed on four sides, and it symbolizes the parts of creation that we cannot understand.
One of the names of G-d is – מָקוֹם (makom) which literally means place. This name expresses that the presence of G-d exists in every place. It is interesting to see that the first letter of מָקוֹםis mem, and that the last letter is also a mem, in its final letter form. In the middle is the word קַו (kav) line. It is as if this is a line between the known world and the hidden, not completely understood world.
Another name of G-d is – אֱמֶת (emet) which means truth. This word starts with the first letter of the Aleph-Bet – א – and ends with the last letter – ת. This refers to all of existence and the truth in it. The middle of the word is the letter מ which connects between the different worlds of creation, as we mentioned earlier.
Another word that starts and ends with the letter מ is the word מַיִם. In the story of the Creation, the text mentions that G-d separated the waters above the firmament and below it. The first mem represents the waters above the firmament and the second mem the waters below the firmament.
Therefore this letter is connected to the element of water.
The numerical value of the letter מ is 40. This number represents ripeness and maturity. This is because according to Jewish tradition, 40 days after conception, a fetus begins to take on human form.
The ideal full life for a person is 120 years (based on the life of Moses), which splits into three segments of 40 years. Each segment is a stage of different stage development in a person’s life.
The number also appears in many Biblical stories:
– The rains of the Great Flood lasted for 40 days. (Noah’s Ark remained on the water for a lot longer because they needed to wait for the waters to dry up.)
– Moses stayed on Mount Sinai for 40 days to receive the Bible.
– Jonah the prophet told the people of Ninveh that they had 40 days to repent.
– The Children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years – the amount of time they needed to free themselves of the slave mentality and become an independent, free nation.
As we said, the letter מ is connected to water, and the connection between the revealed and hidden worlds. This letter represents warm feelings, motherhood, and lots of love.