Nissan, Gilla. “Meditations with the Hebrew Letters: A Guide for the Modern Seeker”, Greenleaf Publishing, 2020.
A Book and Card Set
I was raised as an Orthodox Jew but when I moved to Israel, I left any concept of organized Judaism behind and lived my life secularly. When I returned to the United States years later, I searched for a community and I found one within the Jewish religion and I returned to what I had once ignored. More than that, however, I developed a love for with the tradition and teachings of the Judaism. I suppose that knowing Hebrew had a great deal to do with that. I put aside an hour a day to study Torah and holy writings and joined several study groups, constantly wanting to know more.
I recently received a copy of Gilla Nissan’s “Meditations with the Hebrew Letters: A Guide for the Modern Seeker” and jumped right into it, devouring every word and exercise. New ideas opened up and I was soon having a great time. I learned about the power of language and how it can so many different things. I learned not only about our texts but also about how to live a life filled with inspiration.
Nissan shares ancient knowledge about the power of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Kabbalists and sages believed the power of the Letters created the world but I never comprehended this before. I surprisingly began to understand what the letters of the Hebrew alphabet mean and how they influence how we live.
Author Nissan does not just give us a book but rather a set. There is a book filled with beautiful illustrations, a deck of cards and a reference guide. We learn that the Hebrew Letters are not just building blocks of a language but that they are also a numerical system and mystical tools of creation. We read how the letters are “rooted in Kabbalistic cosmology and can be used to elevate and expand levels of consciousness.” There have been those that, for example, study the letters in their names and then use them to reveal the mission of their souls. Other draw Letters and use them as a daily guide and for introspection. We learn how letters can be used go our own personal needs and philosophies.
Nissan explains that today “the Hebrew letters are spreading in the world and being used in many ways; there is Yoga with the letters, Tai Chi with the letters, different sound works, and more books about the letters.” There is fascination with them for our needs for healing and repairing our soul. This is the first book to present the letters as practical tools for creating change and a better reality. “If God created the entire world with them, we can create our small worlds as well.”
This is not an academic study of the meanings of the letters. This is transmitted in a meditative state, through guided imagery and sound. Nissan has developed a movement to each letter because she feels that we need a direct experience of what we read in the holy books. Her hope is that people will experience themselves as a mystery, and become amazed by the wisdom of their roots— to learn and understand what they stood for before and become deeper and more mindful human beings.
The set is user friendly and is divided into four parts: In part one we learn of Nissan’s life and how she became the recipient of her knowledge about the letters and how this knowledge explains her life. Part two is about the Hebrew language (and no, you do not have to know Hebrew for any of this) and how it became a holy language as well as a language of the street after being resurrected. In part 3, we learn how to use the letters as tools of creation and in part 4 we have twenty-two cards, one for each letter in gorgeous art and explanations of “how to interpret the letter and use it to create a better reality and in-depth perception.”
I am still amazed at the many uses this set provides us—introduction to Jewish mysticism, a history of Hebrew, lessons on mindfulness, a look at “Kabbalah, spirituality, self-discovery, personal growth and ancient languages.” For me, especially, as one who has always had trouble with mindfulness and meditation, a way to deal with my own foibles. I found myself going to places I would probably never go without the guidance I get here and my explorations of Torah have deepened by spending time on the meaning of the letters. I was recently in a course on the creation and many of the questions and issues that came up are dealt with here. I had always suspected that there is a hidden meaning to the holy texts we read and now I feel better equipped to look for them.