The Silence that precedes Creation

:אֲמַר לָהּ קָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא
 ,אָלֶ”ף אָלֶ”ף, אַף עַל גָּב דְּאָת בֵי”ת בַּהּ אִבְרֵי עָלְמָא
.אַתְּ תְּהֵא רֵישׂ לְכָל אָתְוָון
 ,לֵית בִּי יִחוּדָא אֶלָּא בָּךְ
 ,בָּךְ יִשְׁרוֹן כָּל חוּשְׁבָּנִין
 ,וְכָל עוֹבָדֵי דְעָלְמָא
 .וְכָל יִחוּדָא לָא הֲוֵי אֶלָּא בְּאָת אָלֶ”ף  


“The Blessed Holy One said to her:
Aleph, Aleph, though I begin the creation of the world with Beit,
you will remain the first of the letters.
My unity shall not be expressed except in [with] you,
with you shall be based all calculations
and all operations of the world,
and unity shall not be expressed save with the letter Aleph’.” [1]

”‘Aleph,’ the first of all the Holy Letters of the ‘Aleph-Beit,’ is more than one letter among many others, more even than the first among equals. It is the leader and master of the letters. It is the prime factor in the combinations and constellations of letters that form the very elements of creation…” [2]

”[The Magid of Mezritch taught]…‘In the beginning, G-d created את —…G-d’s first act was to create the letters’…”  [3]

“The whole universe is…a multiplicity of combinations of the same essence.” [4]

The essence is represented by א — the letter Aleph — the silence that underlies and unites all other sounds.

“The commentators write, in the name of the Arizal [Rabbi Yitzhak Luria; the "Ari"] that the letter  א  represents Ha-Shem and [G-d's] Glory.” [5]

Watch Aleph.
Hear its perfect silence:
the Quiet before Creation.

The annual cycle of reading Torah begins with Creation.

The Midrash strives to teach that there’s essential goodness in it: It begins with “beit,” which also begins “brachah” — blessing. Creation contains an essential blessing, whatever its outward expressions.

The Zohar, echoing the Midrash, recounts the letters’ self-presentation before Ha-Shem, seeking the honor of being the basis of Creation.

As in the Midrash, the letters present themselves in reverse order: last-to-first.

Why?

Because in contemplating the basis of Creation, our minds go from the “outward” — the last-created — through subtler, increasingly primary levels, to reach the Source of Creation.

The fundamental step of Creation is “blessing.” Perhaps this means that the purpose of Creation is to rise in consciousness until, seeing that all comes from G-d for the good, we bless G-d.

Perhaps it means that we must rise in consciousness until we see that all G-d does is to bless us.

Yet, that brings us only to “beit.”

To reach the Source, we must go even beyond “beit” — even beyond the perception of “blessing.”

We must go to “aleph” — the Silence that unites G-d with Creation; the Silence of G-d within Creation.

Aleph is G-d’s Unity underlying and within Creation.

The Silence of Aleph is the Silence at the Source of our own minds and hearts.

The Silence of Aleph is G-d’s Silence.
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[1] Zohar; p. 3b (Soncino vol. I, p. 13)

[2] Munk, Rabbi Michael L.; The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet; p. 43

[3]  ibid. p. 19

[4] Lichtenstein, Rabbi Morris; Jewish Science and Health; p. 11

[5] Leitner, Dovid; Understanding the Alef-Beis; p. 187