The letter TAV
Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. Meaning mark, sign, omen, or seal, it is the symbol of truth, perfection, and completion. It represents the restoration Tikkun תיקון of all of existence. It is a return to the essence and purpose of one’s life. It represents completion, before beginning again with the original Oneness of the Aleph.
The Tav shows us that the end was set from the beginning, as Tav is the final letter of בראשית Beresheet, “In the Beginning”, the first word of the Torah/Bible. It is the idea that the Creator set in motion all of existence in order to reach a final state of perfection, the fulfillment of all of creation. It is also the completion of Truth אמת Emet.
However, as soon as the Tav is reached, we begin again immediately by going back to the Aleph, the one source of everything. The end is never really the end, but the beginning of something new.
The Zohar states: "the tav makes an impression on the Ancient of Days." "The Ancient of Days" refers to the sublime pleasure innate within the "crown" (Will) of Divine Emanation. The letter tav (here referring to the "Kingdom of the Infinite One, Blessed be He") leaves its impression on the "Ancient of Days." The impression is the secret of simple faith in G-d's ultimate omnipresence the Infinite present in the finite, for "there is none like unto Him" (the conclusion of the above quotation from the Zohar).
This faith passes in inheritance from generation to generation, from world to world, the malchut ("kingdom") of the higher world linked to the keter ("crown") of the lower world. The tav, the final letter of the alef-beit, corresponds to malchut ("kingdom"), the final Divine power, in the secret of "Your Kingdom is the Kingdom of all worlds." The impression of the tav is the secret of the power that links worlds - generations - together.
The initial impression of true faith was that which was stamped upon the soul of our first father, Abraham, "the first of all believers." This is the secret of Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, the original Jewish cemetery, for four hundred (the numerical value of tav) shekel, the secret of our eternal inheritance of "four hundred worlds of pleasure," sealed with the stamp of simple faith.
G-d's seal (in Creation) is truth (in Hebrew, emet, spelled out by the final letters of the three last words in the account of Creation: bara elokim la'asot," " ...G-d created ‘to do’"). The last letter or seal of the word emet, "truth," itself - the seal of G-d's seal - is the letter tav, simple faith, the conclusion and culmination of all twenty-two forces - letters - active in Creation.
The three letters which spell emet are the beginning, middle and ending letters of the alef-bet." The aleph corresponds to one’s initial awareness of Divine paradox in the infinite source (where the higher and lower waters, joy and bitterness, are absolutely one). From this awareness issues mem, the fountain of Divine wisdom, ever- increasing power of insight into the mysteries of Torah. "The final end of knowledge is not to know." The culmination of the flow of Divine wisdom in the soul (after all is said and done) is the "majestic" revelation of the infinite "treasure-house" of simple faith in Gd's absolute omnipresence below innate in the soul of Israel. The culmination of truth simple faith is the secret of the "tav."
"All follows the seal," in the secret of "returning light" from the tav to the alef, thereby forming the word ta, "cell." Around the inner Sanctuary of the Temple were constructed many "cells" or "small chambers." These "cells" were without windows, thus being completely dark inside. Chassidut teaches that these "cells" reveal the level of "He places His concealed place in darkness," the awareness of simple faith reaching into the absolutely "dark" Essence of G-d.
So we are taught: "Torah is the impression [the tav] of Divinity; Israel is the impression [the tav] of Torah." Divinity is perceived first through the service of deepest meditation in complete silence (submission), the secret of the chash ("silence") of chashmal. (Then, through the means of an intermediate stage of "circumcision," comes a first expression of mal, "circumcision." Torah is the secret of separation between good and evil - circumcision - the cutting off of the foreskin (evil).
Israel, the ultimate manifestation of G-d's Word in Torah ("Israel" is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase "There are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah") corresponds to the final level of "speech," the "second" mal of chashmal. Speech, communication of G-d's oneness between souls, is the ultimate level of Divine service, "sweetening" all reality, as taught by the Ba'al Shem Tov. The tav, simple faith, is here seen to be the power of impression and linkage uniting the apparently paradoxical extremities of Divine service, from the utter silence of meditation to the loving communication between souls.
Tav is a complete, three dimensional template. Tav is the end of a cycle, the closing of a circle, but it is not the end of the way. This is the big cycle – if Dalet is 4 and Mem is 40, Tav is 400, indicating three levels of cyclicality. But Tav is also the beginning of a new path.
Tav is an answer (Teshuva) to questions asked during the process, during the cycle, during the rotation, and an answer can be the end of a wonder or the beginning of a new one.
Tav is a stop sign that says “no further” and hints to the wise saying, “Knowing we are ignorant brings us closer to God.” Whoever feels clever, with a bag full of answers, will probably be prevented from continuing the process.
Resh-Shin-Tav constitute together the new network of possibilities that is connected to the Silver Epoch. Together they are the permission and the service, to which one can aspire.
The journey from Aleph to Tav can contribute not only to the person walking its path. It can also give payback to the original source. This is the beginning of a new hope that continues to grow.