Hebrew Letter Vowels

The Midrash Talpiot explains that the letters have their source in the Sefirah of Binah. The vowels have their source in the Sefirah of Chochmah. And the Trope marks have their source in the Sefirah of Keter.

This means that the vowel is more spiritual than the letters and that is why they are smaller and occupy less spiritual space and also less physical space on the scroll or page. It also explains why the vowels can not be comprehended on their own. They need to be revealed by the letters in the lower Sefirah. We call the vowels the soul and the letters the body.

Letters need vowels for their power. The letters have a sound without the vowels but it is too spiritual to be effective. It is like a ghost who desires to make things move in the physical world. He tries to pick the things up and goes right through that thing. When the ghost puts on a body he can pick up the material thing. When the vowel is near a letter it causes the letter sound to expand and become effective in the physical levels.

There are different ways to categorize the vowels. One system of categorization says there are 12 vowels which are put into 4 categories. Another system says there are 12 vowels which are put into 3 categories. In my opinion there are 13 vowels or 14 vowels. I add a "no vowel" vowel to these 12 vowels to arrive at this. I also categorize the Dagesh as a vowel. I have not seen this anywhere else. Does this truly matter? I will let you decide. When? At the end of the class(es) on vowels.

A vowel consists of a point, a line, or a combination of a point with a line. Vowels have three possible locations. 1) Below the letter; 2) To the left of the letter; 3) Above the letter. This is not used as a categorization technique. Why do you think that is?

Here is a little known aspect of vowels. Vowels have a gematria value which changes the gematria of the word.

One example of this is the letter Gimmel. When it is spelled out it is gimmel mem lamed. These same letters in the same order also spell the word gomel. So we have three meanings of the word that is spelled gimmel mem lamed.

One final note about vowels or actually non vowels. The dot that lets us know if the Shin is a Shin or a Sin is not considered a vowel since it relates to the body and sound of the letter itself. To help clarify this point lets understand why a dagesh is a vowel but the dot determining the sound of the Shin is not. One reason that is easy to understand is the Dagesh is uses for dealing with the 7 double letters. it is necessary to teach us if this letter is coming from Chesed or Gevurah as the source changes the sound. The dot regarding the Shin is only dealing with the one letter which is a Mother letter and above the idea of the vowels.

Here are the different categorizations and patterns.

The relationships to the Sefirot are from the system of the ARI. Please note that each Sefirah mentioned above have the following additional Sefirah added to it, Keter of Chochmah of the Letters. Therefore each vowel becomes three levels of Sefirot.


In addition to the Kabbalistic Metaphor of the Sefirot, there is a metaphor of "spheres of creation." The Highest sphere is occupied by Divine Angels that corresponds to the Cholam.

The Cholam is always placed above the letter, yet does not always need the vowel holding place of a Vav. When the Cholam lacks the Vav it is called incomplete. It is taught that the word will become complete by rearranging the letters of the Torah. This means the letters of the Torah are complete but the words they create are not the same for the World that is Coming (Olam Habah) and the World of Tikune (Our present physical world).

The gematria of Cholam חלם is 78. This is 3 times the gematria of the Tetragrammaton. It represents HaShem on the Right, HaShem on the Left, and HaShem in the middle. As explained, when we will discuss the Caf, Lamed, and Mem letters which spell Melech meaning King, the order relates to the verse HaShem Melech, HaShem Malach, HaShem yimloch LeOlam Vaed. One of the meanings of this verse is the unification and correction of the essence of time. Melech is the past, Malach is the present, and Yimloch is the future. The Tikune of time is to be unified. The past is a cause for the present which also includes the future. This is the true meaning of the Buddest and Kabbalistic teaching "Live in the Now".

The Cholam reinforces its regal nature by always being on top of the letters, as the King wears a crown. Since this is true Why is the Cholam not the Keter in the system of the ARI?

Every Shabbat we read/sing Psalm 136 which has 26 verses all ending with the words Ki LeOlam Chasdo כי לעולם חסדו. This phrase translates as "For his kindness endures forever". The word Chasdo meaning His Kindness has a gematria of 78. We learn from the gematria relationship that the Cholam and the highest nature of HaShem is Kindness or Loving Kindness as it has come to be translated.

When we permutate the word Cholam we get the following:

חלם = Dream as well as the name of the vowel

מחל = forgiveness

חמל = pity

מחל = circle

All of these words connect to the end of days (a term that refers to the Birthpangs of Mashiach) as follows: At the time of Mashiach, HaShem will have pity on His People and forgive them for all of their transgressions. World History will then commence a new cycle in the circle of Time.

Here are some other meanings included in the vowel as seen from additional permutations.

לחם = Bread

מלח = Salt

These two words also symbolize eternity as they were significant parts of the rituals of the Temple. The Table in the Temple held the 12 ShewBreads which stayed fresh and warm from Shabbat to Shabbat when they were replaced with the new ShewBreads. Also all sacrifices needed to be Salted. Can you answer the question Why did the sacrifices need to be salted?

Here is a Hint: Salt is white and represents the Right Column.

Shuruk שרק

The Shuruk is connected to the middle sphere which corresponds and is occupied by the planetary orbits.

The Shuruk is always placed in the middle or central position representing the middle sphere as well as the energy of balance.

When we permute the word Shuruk we learn many things as follows:

קשר = knot

שקר = lie or falsehood

רק = connecting word like just, only but, except. In reverse order it means cold or chilly. When connected to the letter Shin it becomes 300 connections or the fire of the cold.

The Shuruk is the knot that connects the Cholam to the Chirik. The upper sphere to the lower sphere.

The first verse in the Torah: Beraishit Barah Elokim Et Hashamayim Vet HaAretz does not have the Shuruk or Kubutz vowel even though it has all of the other major vowels. This is because there is no room for falsehood in the Torah of truth.


The Kubutz vowel is a subsidiary of the Shuruk vowel. This is clear from the mutual sound of each. The question that needs to be asked is why is it necessary for there to be two different vowels with the same sound? Send me your answers to this question after you have time to think about it.

The shape of the Kubutz vowel is three dots below the letter shaped in a diagonal. The Kubutz is used when it is necessary to stress the idea of the connection between the upper and the lower spheres or the idea of balance the path of Judaism. It also represents the idea of a Vav as the three dots make a diagonal vav. The gematria of the Shuruk has a gematria of 600 which has the small gematria of 6 just like the Vav.

Chirik חרק

The lowest sphere is our physical world. The vowel connected to this sphere is the Chirik. Can you guess why?

Let's permute the word Chirik as well.

קרח = Korach - Moses' cousin who strove with him over his Nepotism. Korach ends his life by being buried alive at the gates of Gehinom (always thought of as underground) after Moshe created an earthquake.

רחק = distant

חקר = to investigate and question

The chirik always is written below the letter the most distant from the Cholam. Below the letter represents our physical world which is the most distant from HaShem. Our physical world is also where we constantly investigate and question always searching for Truth and Wisdom, various attributes of HaShem. This means we are searching for HaShem.


The Tzerei represents the high sphere as it is in process of being built to a higher, larger manner. The two dots standing side by side represent the lack of jealousy in the various races of angels. That is why they can be side by side.

The Tzerei, representing the highest sphere is never mixed with an other vowel as it represents the higher levels. An example of this is the word Aish spelled Aleph Shin. The Aleph has a Tzerei vowel because the idea of a flame is constantly ascending.

The Tzerei spelled Tzadi, Reish, Yood can be permutated to spell Yetzer which means inclination (usually thought of as evil inclination). The numerical value of both words is 300 which is the same as the Name of God Elokim spelled out and a transformation of the Tetragrammaton using the At Bash method. This teaches us that it is HaShem who helps us overcome our evil inclination when we follow the natural order of the Torah and its regulations. This form of the Tzerei vowel also demonstrates the equality of the two inclinations the good one and the evil one.


The segol is composed of the Tzerie being side by side and the shva being one atop the other. This builds the middle sphere. The shape of the Segol is an equlateral triangle. One of the dots of the Shva is concealed. The three dots of the Segol represents the three alphabetic structures, known as Al-Bam, At-Bash, and Ach-Bi. These letter substitutions for a triangular transformation ring. When one does a double substitution from one of the structures and then use another of the structures the result will form the third structure.


The Shva has two dots one above the other representing the lowest sphere and indicating the inability of man to get along yet. It also represents the manner of the physical world. In the physical world is the manner of building starting with a foundation below and the actual building above.


The Patach has the meaning of open as in the phrase "open your hands."


the Kamatz has the meaning of closing or gathering in. The Cohen would reach is open hand into the flour and close it and bring forth the Kamitzah the amount of flour needed in the Mincha offering used in the Beit Mikdash or the Temple.

Chataf Patach

Combination Patach and Shva.

Chataf Kamatz

Combination Kamatz and Shva

Chataf Segol

The Chataf Segol is formed from a combination of the Segol and the Shva. This represents a servant standing by his master ready to serve him. It also represents how the lower forms of creation fulfill their purpose by serving the higher forms of creation.

Vowel Gematria Examples

אֱחָד EhChaD.

Gematria of letters only = 13; Since the word means One gematria of 13 represents unity.

Gematria of vowels is 86. 86 is the Name of God representing judgment which is Elohim. This demonstrates the subservience of judgment to mercy. Do you see how?

Together 13 + 86 = 99; when we add the Colel we get 100 representing 10 x 10 which is a complete structure of 10 Sephirot within 10 Sephirot.

Sounds of Letters and Vowels

אָ אַ אֳ אֲ אֶ אֱ אֻ אְ אִ אֵ אוֹ או

Mogen David - Star of David

Mogen David are code words for Shield of David. It represents the Tree of Life for the lower 6 Sefirot with the Center of the star being used as the 7th Sefirot - Malchut. It is formed from two triangles which represent the idea of the two worlds being upside down from each other. This means we start with the unified point of HaShem and progress down to a base and then transfer to another base and progress down to a single point representing the negative force or ego. To go from one wide base to another we must cross the abyss and in so doing we make right left and left right. We can also see from this chart that the protection shield also includes all 27 letters of the Aleph Bet.