The Kabbalah Deck: tet ט

Beginning the Hebre word tov (good), the letter Tet first appears in the Bible with the verse: “And God saw all that He had made and behold it was good.” With its inwardly oriented shape, Tet symbolizes that goodness is often hidden in our universe; as the Zohar indicates, “good is concealed within it.”

In the Kabbalah, goodness is often associated with resplendent, divine light. When Moses was born, legend has it that his mother, Yocheved, beheld a dazzling glow and “saw that he was good.” In a similar legend, the birth of Abraham was accompanied by an intense radiance.

Tet begins the Hebrew word for both purity and brilliance (tihar), suggesting that our sould becomes more respendent as we experience inner clarity. In this manner, each of us can produce a marvelous glow to illumine the path of others.

Tet open the Hebrew word for travel (tiyul), an activity prized by the early Hasidic leaders for its spiritual potency. As Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught, “Each person is destined from on high to be in a particular place at a particular time…. When you have occasion to travel, it is for your own good. If you would not make this journey voluntarily, you would be forced to go in chains.”

Reflecting this mystical notion about the value of travel, the philosopher Martin Buber poetically stated, “Every journey has a secret destination of which the traveler is unaware.” For in visiting new places, we may raise up the fallen sparks of the divine lodged in all things—and also see the world afresh. Perhaps for both reasons, many Hasidic masters advised spiritual seekers to initiate travel “and there you will find an answer to your question.”

To fortify your awareness of the true goodness (although perhaps concealed) in your life, focus on the letter Tet. Ponder the good deeds of others—family members, friends, even strangers—and how much such acts can guide your own soul. When Tet emerges in divinatory spread, it points to the importance of consciously performing good deeds for others. Tet also relates that travel may now be especially useful for you spiritually.

Edward Hoffman, The Kabbalah Deck

In the Zohar, in Terumah, it says there is a place in the world where the forces of destruction and negativity cannot reside. This is not necessarily a physical place, but rather, a place of consciousness. It is a place we are all meant to eventually achieve, one where no negativity, death, or chaos can enter. And we’ll come to see that this place is really the essence of the month of Leo, because it tells us the essence of that place is the letter Tet. Why? When the Creator was creating this physical world, the letter Tet was the letter that shines out life; the letter Tet is the essence of Light, and the essence of life. Therefore, because there is one place where that letter, that conduit of Light, is completely revealed, anybody who is attached to that place, to that consciousness of the essence of the letter Tet, has no death attached to them.

There is another section in the Zohar, the Prologue to the Zohar, verse 33, where the letter Tet is discussed. The letter Tet comes before the Creator and says, “I want to be the conduit by which this physical world is created,” to which the Creator says, “I cannot make you the letter, the conduit, by which this world is created, because your essence of goodness, your Light, is concealed within you.”

Kabbalistically, we know that the journey of the soul and of our world is from where we are today – a world that still has pain, suffering, and death – to a state called the End of the Correction. In that state, there is no death or chaos. That state is concealed for most of us still; most of us still experience chaos, pain, suffering, and death. And the letter Tet has all the Light of Immortality, of the removal of chaos and negativity concealed within it. Its great Light is concealed within it.

We want to get to a state […] where we know that what we need is right inside whatever it is in our life we are lacking, inside whatever darkness. If we get to that place, if we know without a doubt that the gift and blessing we need is right there in the middle of it, then are we ever going to get concerned? No; we will stand there in the darkness and not go look for it anywhere else, because we know the gift is right there in it. The kabbalists teach, therefore, that the real secret about removing darkness is that darkness does not exist. The real secret about darkness is that it is completely Light.

When we look at the letter Tet, the right corner points inside, as if to say, forget about what is outside, because inside there is a reservoir of eternal life. The right piece of the letter Tet is pointing inward, because what it is saying is […] we actually want to stand by the darkness when we are experiencing it, and remind ourselves not to fall to the illusion that it is dark or negative. We want to remind ourselves that without a doubt, there is only goodness hidden inside.

[This] is about becoming comfortable with what others call darkness, knowing that having the consciousness that there is not darkness, only Light, is what transforms the darkness. But, it will only transform it for however long we can stay in that comfort, and based on how strong that comfort is. For most, it is experienced as darkness; for those of a higher consciousness, it is experienced as Light. Yet, our challenge […] is not just to elevate from the lower consciousness to the higher consciousness, but also, to know that the Light out of any challenge or difficulty is not going to come, for the most part, from being a spiritual person and doing the spiritual work; it is going to come from getting comfortable being next to what others would call darkness, and experiencing it as Light.

The essence […] of the letter Tet is only goodness and Light. However, it is not revealed Light. It is Light within the external shell. And so, the secret of the work, and the gift, […] is to know that the essence of whatever difficulty or challenge we face is only Light. [We] want to get to a state where for longer and longer periods of time, we are excited about what others would say is a challenge or darkness.

Michael Berg,