In Parshat Terumah, Hashem commands Bnei Israel to bring donations to contribute to the construction of the Mishkan. Hashem then gives instructions on components of the Mishkan, specifically, the posts: “with its twenty posts and their twenty sockets of copper, the hooks and bands of the posts to be of silver” “וְעַמֻּדָ֣יו עֶשְׂרִ֔ים וְאַדְנֵיהֶ֥ם עֶשְׂרִ֖ים נְחֹ֑שֶׁת וָוֵ֧י הָעַמֻּדִ֛ים וַחֲשֻׁקֵיהֶ֖ם כָּֽסֶף”. Throughout the Torah, the letter ”ו“ (vuv) appears more than any other letter. Typically this letter is used as a prefix, but in this case it is not. It is being used to spell out the word “vuv” in the word “vavei”. In Hebrew, the letters have pictographic significance. This means that the characters serve as a representation of something. Hebrew letters have this symbolism as well as having their purpose of putting words together and having a pronunciation. The word “vavei” in the pasuk, is being used to describe the hooks of the pillars. Additionally, if you look closely at the letter ו, you may see the resemblance to a hook. The letter ו as a prefix translates to “and”. This connects events of any tense, similar to a hook, which is also a connector. The Zohar considers “ו” to be the “letter of knowledge”. When one is familiar with something, then they are connected to it.
Furthermore, the letter “ל” spelled out is “למד” (lamed), which can be contracted from the word לִלמוֹד, to learn. The letter “ל” when used as a prefix translates to “to”. This word gives us direction and purpose. However, one can only have direction once they have learned. For instance, if one wishes to go somewhere, they must first learn how to get there. The shape of the “ל” can be perceived as one sitting and learning.
Finally, the letter “ב” “bet” is translated to house, “בּית”. It even looks like a house! However, just because it is described as a house, does not mean that it is a physical structure. One Tanna stated that he considered his wife to be his house. The first time the word “בּית” is used in the Torah is when Noach is constructing the ark. It is used to describe the tar going from the inside to the outside with “בּית” as the inside. This tells us that “ב” really means inside; the internal world of the spirit of a house.
Hashem says “כׇּל־אִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִדְּבֶ֣נּוּ לִבּ֔וֹ תִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־תְּרוּמָתִֽי׃- you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him.” It is essential to Hashem that all those who bring the gifts must have the right intentions. His heart must move him: לבּוֹ. This one word incorporates all three letters that were previously discussed. In order for his heart to truly be in the right place, it must have these three qualities of the letters. His heart must be directed inwardly, and then only then can he truly connect with Hashem.
By: Sarah Posner (10th Grade)