Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Samech


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Har Sinai
(Mount Sinai)


    On the third day when it was morning, there was thunder and lightning and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of the shofar [ram’s horn] was very powerful, and the entire people that were in the camp shuddered. Moses brought the people forth from the camp toward God, and they stood at the bottom of a mountain. All of Mount Sinai was smoking because God had descended upon it in the fire; its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain shuddered exceedingly. The sound of the shofar grew continually much stronger; Moses would speak, and God would respond to him with a voice.


Exodus 19:16–19


    Imagine being there at Sinai: Hundreds of thousands of people, slaves until just a few months before, are gathered together at the foot of a mountain in the desert—and smoke, fire, thunder, lightning, and the sound of the shofarblasting all lead up to the overwhelmingly awesome sound of the voice of God. How do you think this experience would make you feel?


    Legend has it that only the first two of the Ten Commandments were given directly by God, and the last eight had to come through Moses. The people were too overwhelmed by their first direct access to God to handle the situation—so, since they were familiar with his voice and it intimidated them less, they begged Moses to speak instead. (Although, as Bible scholars point out, every individual heard God’s voice differently, according to his or her own capacity and individual understanding, the direct experience of communication with the Divine proved to be more than they could handle.)


    There’s a tradition in Judaism that every single person in the world was at Sinai, and that those same souls have been reincarnated over and over again throughout the generations, even until today. That’s why this scene of the first mass Revelation in history is so compelling to us even now. There’s something in our souls that connects us to this event, remembers the fear that accompanied the excitement, and recognizes that in our most original state of being, we experienced it firsthand.


    The Samech is shaped like a circle, and it represents protection and safety. Although on some level they’re terrified, the people at Mt. Sinai also sense (though perhaps only subconsciously), that they’re going to be fine. When Moses hears their cries and takes over the enunciation of God’s words, the people are able to shield themselves from the frightening and foreign experience and take comfort in the familiar voice of their leader.


    Only once the sound shifts from the mighty, ethereal voice of God to the human one of Moses are the people truly able to comprehend the deeper meaning of the Revelation. Like a perfectly round wedding ring, the experience of Sinai is binding and limitless at the same time, extending to every generation through endless reincarnations. Although the people now have concrete rules and regulations, and have accepted upon themselves the responsibility to live accordingly—which might seem like a burden—they’ve also been guaranteed the ultimate protection and guidance of their God. As if they’re inside a metaphoric Samech, the people are now safely bound within the guidelines of their society, comforted by the permanence of it all.


    The Samech is your key symbol of safety and protection. Whether you’re in a place of transition or going about your daily routines without interruption, you may now and then feel like a lost lamb, unsure of your place in the world.


    Even when good things happen, we tend to question them and their place in the “bigger picture” of our lives. But the Samech reminds us that we’re always enclosed within the protective embrace of a higher force.


    Conjure up the experience of Sinai: Hear the foreign voice from above changing your reality day by day. You can conquer your fears and anxieties and quell your pride by focusing on the energy of the Samech.


    Remember that everything is part of the universal circle of life. The experience you have today leads to the one you’ll have tomorrow and so forth throughout lifetimes, and everything is just as it should be.

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