Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Kaph



    “But My servant Caleb, because a different spirit was with him and he followed Me wholeheartedly, I shall bring him to the Land to which he came, and his offspring shall possess it.”

Numbers 14:24

After the great Exodus from Egypt, Moses led the Hebrew people to the Promised Land. But as they neared the border, the people became frightened and anxious. To ease their fears, Moses sent a delegation of spies, one from each tribe, to scout out the land and bring back a report to reassure the former slaves. The spies spent 40 days in the Land and came back with a difficult report: It was indeed full of milk and honey, but it was also filled with enemies of gigantic proportions—“We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in their eyes!” they say (Num. 13:33).

When the people hear this report so soon after leaving Egypt, they’re devastated. They can’t understand why they must suffer so much, and wonder if they should go back to Egypt rather than face a future of war with an insurmountable enemy. But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, have a different perspective.

Caleb assures the people that they can conquer the enemies and the land; in fact, he tells them that the land is “very, very good,” and that because they have God on their side, they have nothing to worry about. But the people don’t listen to him.

When God hears of this event, He is enraged. After everything He’s done to free the people from slavery and bring them to their own land, they still have little faith in their ability to move forward. So He decrees that except for Caleb and Joshua, who have seen things as they really are, no one from the original generation that escaped from Egypt will be allowed to enter the Promised Land. Instead, this will be the beginning of 40 years of wandering in the desert, one year for every day the spies spent in the Land, and only when those 40 years pass and the first generation dies out will the younger generation be allowed to enter it.

What makes Caleb say “We can surely do it!” (Num. 13:30) when everyone else is clearly giving up hope? What distinguishes him and Joshua from the other spies and the rest of the people?

The spies say that “we were like grasshoppers in our eyes” when they describe the giants living in the land and the way they looked in comparison. That is to say, they perceived hemselves as grasshoppers, insignificant and weak when compared to the inhabitants of the land. But that doesn’t mean that they were so much smaller—it means that they’d lost their confidence, that they imagined themselves to be inferior, and that they saw the challenges ahead as impossible to overcome.

This happened because for years and years these people had suffered as slaves in Egypt, and they still felt like slaves: weak, small, and frightened by the big, strong taskmaster. The spies were, in a way, projecting their slave mentality onto the report they gave, and because the people were immersed in the same mentality, they believed it.

Caleb, on the other hand, had already gone beyond this mentality and was ready to accept the new realities of freedom and independence. Unfortunately, it would take 40 years of emotional work and psychological healing for the rest of the people to catch up with him.


Caph is considered to be a letter of actualization. Like the crown (Keter) that symbolizes ultimate human power (koach), the Caph represents an understanding of human potential and the realization of that potential.

Caph is also the first letter of the word kavana, an important term in Kabala. Kavana means “intention,” or the energy with which you try to accomplish things. The outcome of your efforts is entirely bound up with your intention. Caleb had good intentions, and he tried to make others see what he saw. For that pure intent, he was rewarded with being able to enter into the Promised Land while everyone else was not.

Just as Caleb was able to see a different reality, and express his confidence in that reality, this card points to the fact that you should strive to look at things from a wider perspective, and not be hampered by your past.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s