The third letter of the Lashon Hakodesh (Sacred alphabet) is the letter Gimel. If you observe its shape, you see that it is made by a letter Vav (ו) and a letter Yod (י). This encloses the mystery of the sound "ggh," which is guttural, meaning, in the throat. The sound of gimel is located at the level of the throat.
Gimel is generally pronounced like the “G” in “gap”, some dialects pronounce it differently in certain cases. Some Yemenite Jews, for example, pronounce it as more of a “J” in specific cases.
Gimel can also be said "Gamal" in Hebrew, which means camel, also it means bridge; weaning; benevolence. The word gimel is also derives the word Gemul, which means "to give" (Chesed-Charity). The letter which comes after Gimel in the Hebrew alphabet is the letter Dalet, which is the first letter of the word “dal” meaning “weak”. According to this teaching, the Gimel, the benefactor, is walking towards the Dalet who is weak. From this, we can learn that if we have something to give, we should always be quickly going towards those who are in need in order to help them.
Our Sages teach that the gimel symbolizes a rich man running after a poor man, the dalet, to give him charity. The word "gimel" is derived from the word "gemul", which in Hebrew means both the giving of reward as well as the giving of punishment. In Torah, both reward and punishment have the same ultimate aim: the rectification of the soul to merit to receive HaShem’s light to the fullest extent.
Factoid: Each verse of this portion Tehillim / Psalm 119:17-24 begins with the letter Gimel.
Again, Gimel symbolizes the ultimate cheerful giver, so eager to share his abundant wealth that he chases the poor, seeking any chance to give, to bless, and to bestow his riches upon the needy. This understanding coheres with Scripture. In the great alphabetic Psalm 119, the first Gimel verse states: Tehillim 119:17 Deal bountifully (גמל, gomal) with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Hence gemilut chasidim is the practice of kindness toward others. In other words, how one chooses to "run" the race in Olam Hazeh (this world) will determine the outcome of his or her life in Olam Habah (world to come).
Gomel also means to give in the sense of to reward, to recompense, or to repay, which can have positive or negative sense depending on what is deserved. HaShem used it in Yeshayahu / Isaiah 3 when he said:
For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against HaShem, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded (gamlu) evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward (גמול, gamul) of his hands shall be given him. Yeshayahu / Isaiah 3:8.
The Talmud depicts gimel as a wealthy man running to overtake an impoverished man with provision. Gimel represents God’s eternal beneficence. (Rabbi Munk)
Factoid: A Gamal / Camel is called the desert ships of kings and their riches. In Divrei HaYamim Bet / 2 Chronicles 9:1, the Queen of Sheba brought Solomon gold, gems and spices on a caravan of camels. Eliezer brought the bride, Rebecca, home to Isaac on a caravan of camels. Kings and wealthy businessmen used camels to transport goods along trade routes.
Aramaic notes: Matthew 19:24 "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” "The Aramaic word gamla means camel, a large rope and a beam. The meaning of the word is determined by its context. If the word riding or burden occurs then gamla means a camel, but when the eye of a needle is mentioned gamla more correctly means a rope. There is no connection anywhere in Aramaic speech or literature between camel and needle, but there is a definite connection between rope and needle." Thus "camel" would have been translated instead of "rope". It takes little effort to imagine Yeshua, while walking along the sea coast, pointing to a rope and saying, "It is easier for a camel [a gamla, a rope] to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven".
Factoid: The letter Gimel sometimes have a dot in the middle of the letter (called a dagesh), but today this does not affect its pronunciation.
Gimel is also one of the seven letters which receive special crowns (called tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah. See shin, ayin, teth, nun, zayin, and tsadi.
Decorative "crowns" which are sometimes placed on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The taga is regularly composed of three flourishes or strokes, each of which resembles a small "zayin" and is called "ziyyun" In the Good news the taga is called "tittle" (Matt. v. 18). The seven letters צ, ג, ו, נ, ט ע, ש have the crowns on the points of the upper horizontal bars.
הגם זו לטוב – "Gam zu letovah," "This, too, is for the best." Shalom.
Tags: abundant wealth, benefactor, benevolence, chases, cheerful giver, Dalet, dialects, gap, Gimel, hebrew alphabet, lashon, poor man, psalm 119, rectification, reward and punishment, rich man, sages, weaning, yemenite jews, yod
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