The letter YOD

The 10th Hebrew letter Yod is a dot or point. The Yod represents the Creator, the single point from which all of creation emerges, and the Unity within multiplicity. It is the foundation of all foundations, the hidden Divine spark which causes everything to be. It represents the power of the spirit to govern and guide the matter.

Yod is a symbol of the Holy One, the Creator, since the holy name starts with Yod. Small in form, the meaning of the Yod is great. According to kabbalistic tradition, all of creation came forth from a single point – a point which represents God’s infinite presence inside of the finite world.

Yod also represents the idea of Unity within Multiplicity, of one whole that is comprised of parts. Yod as we see is a single point, but its value is 10. It shows us that many grains of sand are used to make one pot, many pages make up one book, many drops of water make up the ocean. There are many occurrences in the world, but they all stem from One God, perfect and indivisible. It also represents the 10 Sefirot. In Yod, the multiplicity returns to unity.

The yod is an infinite dot, the essence of all life. It is the foundation of all foundations. Everything comes from it and returns to it. It is a hidden dot beyond imagination – formless, the source of all thought, beyond all thoughts, beyond time and space. It is the secret hidden principle of the universe that we can’t perceive. It is the Divine spark of life that is in every single being. It cannot be grasped, but is in every cell of your body, causing you to exist. It has no mass or density, time or space. In it is the power of the spirit to govern and guide the matter of the material world.

The letter yod, a small suspended point, reveals the spark of essential good hidden within the letter tet. Subsequent to the initial tzimtzum, the contraction of G-d's Infinite light in order to make "place" for Creation, there remained within the empty void a single, potential point or "impression." The secret of this point is the power of the Infinite to contain finite phenomena within Himself and express them to apparent external reality. Finite manifestation begins from a zerodimensional point, thereafter developing into a one-dimensional line and two-dimensional surface. This is alluded to in the full spelling of the letter yod (yod-vav-dalet): "point" (yod), "line" (vav), "surface" (dalet). These three stages correspond in Kabbalah to: "point" (nekudah), "spectrum" (sefirah), "figure" (partzuf). The initial point, the essential power of the yod, is the "little that holds much." The "much" refers to the simple Infinity of G-d hidden within the initial point of revelation, which reflects itself as the Infinite potential of the point to develop and express itself in all the manifold finite phenomena of time and space. 

Before the tzimtzum, the power of limitation was hidden, latent within G-d's Infinite Essence. Following the tzimtzum, this power of limitation became revealed, and paradoxically the Infinite Essence of G-d that originally "hid" the power of limitation now Itself became hidden (not in truth, but only from our limited human perspective) within the point of contracted light.

From within this point of limitation is revealed the secret of the ten sefirot, the Divine channels of light through which G-d continually brings His world into being. Ten, the numerical value of the yud, is also the number of commandments (literally "statements") revealed by G-d to His People Israel at Sinai. All the commandments, and in fact every letter of Torah, possess the power of the "little that holds much"; each is a channel for the revelation of G-d's Infinite Light in finite reality.

Yod is the Universe (Yekum) – the child of God and Creation. However, Yod is not fixed but rather continues to change constantly, like the child (Yeled) who is born after Tet (nine) months and continues to change from the day of birth. Yod is the pivot of the planetary and universal wheel of change. It symbolizes the need to change during the time of change, while maintaining new balances. Yod is also the principle of uniqueness (Yikhudiyut) that exists throughout the Universe – in which no star is identical to the other, and no human being is identical to another (this is the way of nature – the Tet [that is the first letter of the Hebrew word “nature” – Teva], which gives birth to Yod). Each person – even if s/he is part of a much larger family – is singularly unique, hence the great importance of the principle of protecting the privacy of each and every individual.

The diversity of uniqueness and all that is connected to it, is at the core of every change that keeps changing – without this formation there is no growth and life remains immovable. This is not a change for the sake of change, but changing for the purpose of maintaining the diversity of uniqueness as a seed of further growth of each unique individual.