(Tet) is concerned. The indication is that it might refer to the toothed edge of a wall. However, we are informed that the shape comprises two hidden letters at the top and three at the bottom. In this regard, it is said the intimation is that the one who walks in humbleness and avoid all contention, will receive a threefold measure of goodness. This pertains to the injunction in Proverbs 17:14 reading:
Poter mayim reishit madon v’lifnei hit’gala hariv netoshTranslation:
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; therefore leave off contention, before the quarrel break out.As it is, the letter Tet is the initial of the word (Tov—"good"). In this regard, we are again sternly admonished that at the end of time the whole world will be judged, and whilst Israel will be granted the blessing of goodness, all who are found to have acted for personal benefit alone, will suffer dire consequences for having sinned in this manner.
In this regard, I noted previously that "the old idea of a touchy, ill-tempered God raging away at human antics because those ‘offended’ His ideas of propriety, does not ‘go over’ any more," and that "sin," as seen by modern eyes, refers to "wrongful behaviour which damages us by the doing in such a way, that we fail to achieve anything like the ‘Intention of God’ in ourselves for our period of incarnation. Therefore, in ‘falling short’ of the mark by so far, we hinder our progression toward ‘Perfection’ by that much. In sinning against ourselves, we sin against the ‘God-in-us’."
I also maintained "the old-time concepts of ‘sin’ as intentional offenses against a God, who laid down arbitrary dictates of behaviour, did not stand up very well in the light of experience," and in this regard listed two axioms which I thought were very revelatory. The first is that "a thing is not just because God wills it, but God wills it because it is just," and the second is that "we are punished by our sins, not for them." In fact, human behaviour has become so complex that definite pronouncements no longer apply to a great deal of it. All we can do is accept certain overall codes of conduct as being best to observe amongst us for the sake of general welfare. We might try our best to keep to those codes, i.e. strike an average, and let individuals sort out their own affairs, providing they do not hurt those who are undeserving of it.
(Yod) indicates a small bench with two endings. We are informed that the construct refers to those who humble themselves in the physical world, and who deserve to inherit a lofty throne in the world to come. Regarding the biblical King David we are informed (v’David hu ha-katan—"And David was the youngest [literally ‘smallest’]") (I Samuel 17:14), and that this humbleness of the king earned him the most exalted status in the hereafter, regarding which it is related in Psalm 89:36 :
v’chis’o kashemesh neg’diTranslation:
and his throne as the sun before Me.We are also reminded that even the Divine One selected from the entire Hebrew alphabet the smallest letter, (Yod), to be the initial of the Ineffable Name, i.e. (YHVH).
(Kaf) is said to stand upright, and, like a monarch, it is wearing a crown. The gematria of Kaf is twenty. In this regard, we are told that there were twenty generations between our primal ancestor Adam and the patriarch Abraham, and that in that period there was no acknowledgment nor sanctification of the Divine Creator, that is until Abraham honoured and recognised the holiness of the Divine One. Hence he established the Covenant of Circumcision, and we are informed that he was granted the knowledge and wisdom of creation (Yetzirah). Tradition has it that the Sefer Yetzirah, the mystico-magical "Book of Creation," derived from Abraham.
Now, the rest of the jargon on the magical glyph for the letter Kaf pertains to the amount of lashes to be dished out in the afterlife to the wicked for their transgressions. In this regard, I refer to my earlier remarks regarding "sin" and "divine" punishment. Besides, I would think the worst pain of "hell" is, as a theological saying puts it, feeling ones own unworthiness of Heaven, i.e. the realisation that one has excluded oneself deliberately from the Divine Presence. In this regard, I do acknowledge the validity of the Kabbalistic teaching of "Chibut ha-Kever" (—"torments of the grave"), but not in any way of it being understood as punishment inflicted upon us by the Divine One in person.
We are told that "The body begins to decompose soon after it is buried. The effect of watching this must be both frightening and painful. The Talmud teaches us, ‘Worms are as painful to the dead as needles in the flesh of the living, as it is written, "his flesh grieves for him" (Job 14:22).’ Most commentaries write that this refers to the psychological anguish of the soul in seeing its earthly habitation in a state of decay.
The Kabbalists call this ‘Chibut ha-Kever,’ the punishment of the grave. We are taught that what happens to the body in the grave can be an even worse experience than Gehenom.
This varies among individuals. The more one is obsessed with one’s body and the material world in general during his lifetime, the more he will be obsessed with it after death. For the person to whom the material was everything, this deterioration of the body is most painful.
On the other extreme, the person who was immersed in the spiritual may not care very much about the fate of his body at all. He finds himself very much at home in the spiritual realm and might quickly forget about his body entirely.....
Many of us think of death as a most frightening experience. Tzaddikim, on the other hand, have looked forward to it. Shortly before his death, Rabbi Nachman of Breslav said, ‘I very much want to divest myself of this garment that is my body.’
If we truly believe and trust in a merciful God, then death has no terror for us.....” [Kaplan, A.: The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology I: Illuminating Expositions on Jewish thought and Practice by a Revered Teacher, National Conference of Synagogue Youth/Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, New York 1991]
Whilst our bodies are animals, it does not mean that we should be unkind to them. You should no more ill treat your own body, than you would beat any animal to death. Yet people persist in ill treating their bodies, bashing them about and scourge them. This is just sheer cruelty and abuse of a harmless, innocent creature, which does not help their evolution in the least. If we really befriend our bodies, we might well be freed eventually from the confinements of three dimensional existence. Some might think they are occupying a lump of meat, however one should at least try to befriend the “poor brute” and guide it along its path of progress on this planet. We certainly do not have to treat our bodies as gods, but at least we should treat them as friends.
From what I understand, our actions sometimes result in “klipot” (demonic shards) attaching themselves to ones being, hence a “purification” process is required after death, in order to prepare the “Self” for “life to come” or rebirth. We should always keep in mind that distress leads to release. This is the penalty we have to bear in life and death, if “Chibut ha-Kever” is to believed, and we should realise that there is only compensation in the “Divine Judgment” which we carry within ourselves.
Now, when it comes to dealing with those mentioned "demonic shards" which may have become attached to ones being, the traditional "beating" of the willow branches during Rosh Hashanah is, as it were, a kind of "sympathetic magic," the action being to drive away and untie oneself from klipot. I have observed this procedure being delineated a "lightening of Chibut ha-Kever." In this regard, it appears the "beating of the willows" to be somewhat akin to the practice of Tashlich, the latter referring to "casting" ones "sins" upon the waters of a running stream. Collectively these actions pertain to breaking the "ties that bind." A similar intention is behind the Kabbalistic Agala’a fire ritual enacted on Erev Rosh Hashanah, which I described in "The Book of Sacred Names."
A related and somewhat easier practice in terms of execution, is the very assertive chanting of the "Shem Vayisa Vayet" conjoined with the Name Agala’a, e.g. Agala’a Vehu Yeli Sit Elem Mahash Lelah Agala’a; Agala’a Achah Kahet Hezi Elad Lav Hahah Agala’a; Agala’a Yezel Mebah Hari Hakem Lav Keli Agala’a; etc. However, I am not informed regarding the employment of any amulets one might carry on ones person as a protection against "Chibut ha-Kever." However, I do know that there was (and perhaps still is) a custom in which the Name (KaRo’), the third three-letter portion of the "Forty-Two Letter Name," was written on a piece of parchment, which was afterwards stuck up the nose of a corpse so as to protect the deceased individual from the afflictions of "Chibut ha-Kever" and from going to "hell." As mentioned in "The Book of Sacred Names," this practice is somewhat meaningless to me, since "I do not buy into the idea of ‘hell’ per se." However, as indicated, I do believe in a posthumous purification process as far as the "Self" is concerned, and also concede "that there may indeed be parties interested in saving family and friends from a presumed infernal destiny in the hereafter" by sticking amulets up the nostrils of their cadavers!