The Book of Zohar, Chapter “Truma (Donation),” Item 24: Due to the Dinim in her, Malchut is called Efer [ash] and Efron. Efron means “our Efer.” From the moment Malchut rose to Bina, Bina is called Efron as well. At that time Bina divides into two—GAR, upper AVI, are Samech, corresponding to the six Sefirot HBD HGT, each of which comprises ten. From the Chazeh down she is established as Partzuf YESHSUT, which includes the four Sefirot NHYM, and it is Mem….
Answer: A letter is a symbol. The forms of letters symbolize the forces that are connected together. We have to give them a form to use it to describe these forces.
There are no forms in spirituality. However, in our world I can use letters to explain spiritual properties. Let’s say, the letter “Samech” (o) is round which indicates its property of mercy, bestowal. Its numerical value (Gematria) is 60. Sixty is 6 x 10 (six Sefirot, each consisting of ten). Thus, it’s possible to explain what 6 is, what 10 is, what “round” means, and what property we represent in the form of the round letter “Samech.”
There is nothing like this in the spiritual realm. However, to explain something to each other it’s necessary that we have a common language. If it were not for language as the communication between us, there would be no need either for letters or any other symbols.
Indeed, in spirituality, meaning in my inner sensation, I don’t need to draw any forms for myself. There are no images in my inner sensation; there is only a sensation in the desire, receiving an impression. However, when I want to say what my desire is, how much it’s impressed, from what, by which opposite properties, then the left and right sides, above and below, and various colors appear. Then, I need all these aspects.
Why does an artist paint a picture? He feels that he simply must express his or her inner sensation, delight, and inspiration and convey them to other people. A picture is only an external expression, to some extent reflecting his inner feeling and desire to share it with others.
People who don’t understand think that an artist simply threw on to the paper or canvas all his inner impression and inspiration. If we are talking about a weak earthly impression, that’s still possible.
However, it’s impossible to communicate a spiritual impression. That’s why it’s forbidden to portray spirituality in the form of paintings and statues because you will not be able to express your inner impression. Yet, it’s allowed to illustrate spiritual properties, states, and processes in the form of letters and diagrams because in them you depict not your inner impression, but only the symbols of impression.
This is called a language, when we connect among ourselves through external symbols, each of which, according to our agreement, may awaken in us a corresponding inner impression, and pass it from one to the other. Nonetheless, each human has a different impression because we are different from each other.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/26/2011, The Book of Zohar