Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):
138 Openings of Wisdom
The action of the letters is completed by the musical notes, vowel points and crowns.
Note: In the Torah scroll, only the Hebrew letters (otiot) are written, in some cases with "crowns" (tagin) over them. The associated vowel signs (nekudot) and musical notes (ta'amim, the cantillation marks or troppe) are unwritten yet are also integral parts of the oral Torah tradition (Masoret).
The completion and perfection of the letters depends on the musical notes, vowel points and crowns that are joined with them. All of them contribute, each in its own proper way, to the full and complete execution of the intended effect or action. However, the main action comes about through the letters.
Having explained the letters, we will now discuss the musical notes, vowel signs and crowns that are joined with them.
The completion and perfection of the letters depends on the musical notes, vowel points and crowns...
Each thing has to be examined as an individual root in order to establish whether it is the main factor in itself or merely a component part that comes to complete the main factor, as discussed below. The main action is executed by the letters themselves, while their completion and perfection lies in the musical notes, vowel signs and crowns...
...that are joined with them, all of which contribute, as befits each one, to the perfect execution of the intended effect or action This is something we can see with our own eyes. As itis below, so it is above. Here below in this world, we see that the letters of the Torah are complete only together with their accompanying musical notes, vowel signs and crowns. So too above, the notes, vowel signs and crowns are bound up with the letters themselves and serve one and the same purpose.
However, the main action comes about through the letters. Similarly in this world, we also see that the written letters alone are sufficient to give us an understanding of the text.
BACK TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE
138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM INDEX PAGE
by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5763 - 2003 All rights reserved