SHIN as Chagall
Cm 24 x 24 x 5
Plaster, water, colors
Hand made and signed by the italian jewish sculptor Gabriele Levy
Shin is the twenty-first letter of the hebrew alphabet.
Pronounciation: SH or S
Example: shalom, peace or Sarah, Sarah.
In gematria shin represents the number 300.
The letter shin represents divine power but also corruption.
Shin is related to shen, tooth. (source: Otiot Rabbi Akiva)
The shape of shin resembles a molar that grinds food with its sharp edges.
The word shen, tooth, is in turn linked to shanan, sharp.
Therefore "vesheenantam lebanecha", "you shall recite these things to your children" (Deuteronomy 6:7) means "teach your children intensely so that they understand the Torah clearly and its words will be sharp and precise, beyond doubt". (source: Kiddushin 30a)
Shin, as a prefix, bears the same meaning as the relative pronouns "that", "which" and "who" in English.
According to Judges 12:6, the tribe of Ephraim could not differentiate between shin and samekh; when the gileadites were at war with the ephraimites, they would ask suspected ephraimites to say the word shibbolet; an ephraimite would say sibbolet and thus be exposed. From this episode we get the english word shibboleth.
Shin also stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. Because of this, a kohen, priest, forms the letter shin with his hands as he recites the Beerkat Hakohaneem, Priestly Blessing.
In the mid 1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan hand salute for his character, Mr. Spock on Star Trek.
In the Sefer Yetzirah the letter shin is king over fire, formed heaven in the universe, hot in the year, and the head in the soul.
The 13th-century kabbalistic text Sefer HaTemunah, holds that a single letter of unknown pronunciation, held by some to be the four-pronged shin on one side of the tefillin box, is missing from the current alphabet. The world's flaws, the book teaches, are related to the absence of this letter, the eventual revelation of which will repair the universe.
The letter shin is often inscribed on the case containing a mezuzah, a scroll of parchment with biblical text written on it. The text contained in the mezuzah is the Shema Israel prayer, which calls the jews to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. The mezuzah is situated upon all the doorframes in a home or establishment. Sometimes the whole word Shaddai will be written on the mezuzah.
The Shema Yisrael prayer also commands the jews to write God's commandments on their hearts (Deuteronomy 6:6); the shape of the letter shin mimics the structure of the human hearth: the lower, larger left ventricle (which supplies the full body) and the smaller right ventricle (which supplies the lungs) are positioned like the lines of the letter shin.
The shin teaches us balance. It is composed of 3 vavs, the 3 pillars of the tree of life. The right pillar is of kindness and mercy, the left of strict justice and truth. The world cannot continue without both, so we must balance between the two. In all aspects of life, we must find the middle way between the opposites and extreme