Hey: So Hard to Define

The letter Hey is made up of a Dalet and a Yud. The Yud is rotated and hovers inside the Dalet.

There are many interpretations as to what the Hey alludes to. Some suggest that it is a diagram of detachment: the experience that action is detatched from thought, others see it as a symbol of speech, with the left leg representing words or breath leaving the mouth. But it does seem that the beauty of the Hey is somehow related to the mysterious hovering of the left leg.

According to the laws of Hebrew Calligraphy, the letters do not sit on the line as we find with English lettering, but rather hang down from it. A line is scored into the  parchment beneath which the letters  are written. Some scribes prefer to use a rose thorn so as not to use any steel in their work,  steel being a material associated with war.

In every Torah scroll just after the account of the creation, you will find a verse which contains an unusually small letter Hey.

The verse says: ‘These are the generations of heaven and earth “Behibaram” when they were created’, but the diminutive letter Hey suggests that it can be read ‘B’ Hey Baram’ with a “Hey” were they created, announcing, quietly, that through speech was the world called into being.

The definite article

In Hebrew grammar the Hey is used to denote the definite article which, in the defining moment, simply attaches itself to the beginning of the definiendum i.e. the thing which it seeks to define. Please note however, that if the Hey is attached to the end and not the beginning of the definiendum, it results not in definition but in a feminine ending.

Hey the Fifth letter

In Arabic the number Five is pronounced Hamsa similar to the Hebrew Hamesh.  Hamsa is also the name given to the Five fingered amulets popular with Sephardic Jews and Muslims for warding off the Evil-eye.

Five sided shapes and the rules of football

Some of the most perfect pentagons in the world at the moment are those found on the surface of a football. According to mathematicians the football is something which satisfies the following rules:

1.     It is a polyhedron that consists only of pentagons and hexagons

2.     The sides of each pentagon meet only hexagons

3.     The sides of each hexagon alternately meet pentagons and hexagons.

Heys and Almond trees

In trying to define the secret of the Hey’s beauty, consider that of the Almond flower. Almond flowers have two things in common with us:

First, like us they are alive and second like us, with hands and feet, they are multiples of five.


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