THE ALPHABET OF CREATION – THE LETTERS OF RABBI HAMNUNA-SABA
Rabbi Hamnun-Saba lived in the mid-third century C.E. He became the head of the rabbinical Academy at Sura in southern Babylonia. He made many literary and legalistic contributions.
The Talmud contains many halkhic rulings (a collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from both the written and oral elements of the Torah), aggadot (the non-legalistic exegetical texts typically recorded in the Talmud and Midrash which incorporate historical anecdotes, folklore, moral exhortations, and practical advice commenting on everything from business to medicine), and prayers attributed to him
In the Zohar, Rabbi Hamnuna-Saba is quoted: “In the first four words of the Torah, IN THE BEGINNING THE CREATOR CREATED Et – Beresheet Barah Elokim Et, the first two words begin with the letter Bet, and the following two begin with Aleph” (The letter Aleph is pronounced both as “A” and “E”). It is said that, “When the Creator thought to create the world, all of the letters were still concealed, and even 2,000 years before the creation of the world, the Creator gazed into the letters and played with them.”
The Alphabet of Rabbi Hamnun-Saba is a chapter in the Zohar. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet – symbolic of the properties and forces that the Creator governs directly – came into the presence of the Creator, each trying to prove that it is the “most fitting” to achieve the goal of creation, that is merging with the Creator. While the letter points out its positive aspects, the Creator in return points out the deficiencies of each.
This has always struck me as the first job interview in the Universe . . . with many more to follow.