The letter MEM
The letter Mem is water mayim מים, the waters of wisdom, knowledge, the Torah. Representing both waters and manifestation, it is the ability to dive deep into the wisdom. It is said that in every person is the thirst for the words of the Creator, which are the waters of life. The open mem refers to the revealed aspects of providence, while the closed mem refers to the concealed part of the celestial rule that nonetheless guides us and all of existence. Mem also represents the time necessary for ripening and indicates to us the importance of balanced emotions and of humility.
Mem corresponds to the number 40 and represents the time necessary for the ripening process that leads to fruition. (40 days for the development of the embryo, 40 years in the desert before reaching the holy land, 40 years development before Moses was prepared to be the leader of Israel).
The mem also teaches us about balanced emotions – balancing the watery motions of our feelings. And it is about humility – water is the substance that always runs downhill to the lowest place.
The mem, the letter of "water" (mayim) symbolizes the fountain of the Divine Wisdom of Torah. Just as the waters of a physical fountain (spring) ascend from their unknown subterranean source (the secret of the abyss in the account of Creation) to reveal themselves on earth, so does the fountain of wisdom express the power of flow from the superconscious source. In the terminology of Kabbalah, this flow is from keter ("crown") to chochmah ("wisdom"). The stream is symbolized in Proverbs as "the flowing stream, the source of wisdom."
In particular, we are taught that there are thirteen channels of flow from the superconscious source to the beginning of consciousness. These channels correspond to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy revealed to Moses at Sinai, as well as to the thirteen principles of Torah exegesis, the (superrational) "logic" of Torah.
The mem is the thirteenth letter of the alefbeit. In Kabbalah we are taught that "thirteen mems," as it were, appear in the "primordial air," the (outer) "space" into which the letter lamed soars. Each attribute of mercy is in fact a contraction of relatively Infinite wisdom, at the level of the superconscious ("waters that have no end"), in order to channel and reveal a flash of wisdom on to the "screen" of consciousness. Conscious wisdom draws its points of insight primarily from that attribute of mercy referred to in Torah as "He retains kindness for thousands of generations," whose initial letters spell the Hebrew word for "stream, "the first word in the previously quoted phrase, "the flowing stream, the source of wisdom."
In at'bash, mem transforms to yod, the point of wisdom or revealed insight, the drop of water emerging from the fountain of the mem.
The words for "one" (echad) and "love" (ahavah) both equal thirteen, the secret of the letter mem. The closed, final mem, the source of the fountain of wisdom connected and included within its subterranean, superconscious source, corresponds to the secret of echad, "one." The open mem, from which emerges the point (yud) of conscious insight, is the first manifestation of love (i.e., will to cling to another) in the soul. The connection between the two fountains of the mem, the "closed" fountain and the "open" fountain, is by the power of the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy. This is the secret of G-d’s Essential Name Havayah - the "Name of Mercy." The Name Havayah equals 26 = 2 times 13, the union of "one" and "love," the power to draw into consciousness the wisdom of Torah.
The letter Mem is related to motherhood at planetary, personal and human levels and to all things that are related to what motherhood provides and symbolizes, such as: protecting the process of growth, providing safety, support, accompaniment and love that has no boundaries, which always gives without counting the cost.
The letter Mem relates to the cyclic nature of time and to the safety of things that are unchangeable – as is apparent in the cycles of the seasons and the promise and fertility they carry within them. But in each development process, comes a time when there is a need to know how to give up the fruit in order to continue to grow. The giving up phase is extremely important because without doing it willingly, it will occur, in any event, on its own accord. However, the things that are then taken might be indispensable.
Mem is a space to grow in – a supportive and multicolored growth space. Mem holds inside it the natural healing forces of Mother Earth. Mem is a guide, a caregiver, an instructor and a giver of direction. Mem is also the guardian of the feminine secrets of what, who, when and wherefrom.