The Zayin is shaped like a sword and is the symbol of spirit, sustenance, and struggle. It represents the 7th day of Shabbat, the day of rest and spirituality, which completes the process of the 6 days of creation. It includes the six days and six directions of physical reality, but also stands as a unique 7th principle or energy, the spirit which activates the physical. The Zayin is the source of all movement. It is an impregnating principle, which activates the creation.
Zayin is drawn with a Vav with a crown on top of it. The Vav is related to the Or Yashar, the direct light of the Creator coming down into the created world. The Zayin relates to the Ohr Hozer, the returning light, which follows the path of the vav to return and then spreads out when it reaches the crown. The Zayin impregnates all of life and allows the Vav to spread, opening the field of every possibility
Shaped like a sword, the Zayin represents all movement. It represents the struggle between opposites, the struggle for existence, the struggle for sustenance (מזון). It is the struggle between Yaakov and the angel. It is the power within a person that causes them to speak, initiate, live. Interestingly, Zayin is also the source of rest. It teaches us to harmonize between the spirit and perfection related to the 7th day of rest, and the matter of the 6 days of work.
The Maggid of Mezeritch, the successor of the Ba’al Shem Tov, teaches that the verse "A woman of valor is the crown of her husband" alludes to the form of the letter zayin. The previous letter, vav, portrays the or yashar ("straight light") descending from G-d into the worlds. The zayin, whose form is similar to a vav, though with a crown on top, reflects the or yashar of the vav as or chozer ("returning light"). Or chozer ascends with such great force that it reaches a higher state of consciousness than that of the revealed origin-point of the or yashar. When reaching the initially superconscious realm of keter (the "crown"), it broadens its awareness to both the right and the left. In truth "there is no left in that Ancient One [the level of keter], for all is right." This means that the awe of G-d (left) at this initially superconscious level is indistinguishable, in its nature to cling directly to G-d, from the highest manifestation of the love of G-d (right).
The experience of or chozer, subsequent to the consummation of the creative process inherent in or yashar, the creation of man on the sixth day, is the secret of the seventh day of Creation--Shabbat. The Shabbat Queen" who, in general, signifies woman in relation to man--"the woman of valor is the crown of her husband"-- has the power to reveal in her husband his own superconscious crown, the experience of serene pleasure and sublime will innate in the day of Shabbat.
"Who is a good [literally, "kosher"] woman? She who does her husband’s will." Chassidut explains that the word "does" also means "rectifies," as said in the completion of the account of Creation (the seal of the seventh day, Shabbat): "that which G-d created to do"-- "to do" in the sense of "to rectify" (thus implying that G-d has given us the task to consummate the rectification of His Creation), as explained by the Sages. Thus the "kosher woman" is she who rectifies her husband’s will by elevating him to ever new awareness of previously superconscious realms of soul.
The letter Zayin is related to the number 7: the basic template of the elevations in the Universe. It symbolizes the seven heavens, as well as the chariot (Merkavah) – the original design of human formation. It is related to the questions, what rides the chariot, what flows through it and to what do we allow control over us – the feelings, the mind, the present, the past. The freedom of choice is given to each human, where the entire rainbow of possibilities, with its seven colors, is open to us.
Zayin opens the question of the dimension of time (Zman): the known linear time, the line of time upon which it is possible to move forward and backwards and the dimension of no-time (wherein time does not exist).
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