Yom Rishon, B’ha’alotcha 5772: (from a letter)
I wish to clarify together with you a matter that we briefly spoke about, to see if we both don’t understand the same thing. this mater is one of the central matters of my “artwork” if not the central issue, so I have pondered it deeply and I feel quite clear about my understanding of it and therefore doubt that you think differently. If you do indeed know differently and could enlighten me to your understanding, my happiness would know no bounds.
The matter is this; you mentioned that you were involved in tefilla to Hashem Yisborach to reveal to you alef-bais, that is, the true alef bais which is above, which is truly (not the forms of the letters as we recognize them here, rather) Orot dakot… spiritual realities far above any forms we know here.
My understanding is that the limitations of the human sekel are such that the highest worlds are absolutely beyond our grasp, at least in this world. This means, to my understanding, that the worlds which are above Otiot, that is olam Haatzilut, where there are no Shamot whatsoever, Chas y’shalom, (and all that we speak about shamos and spherot in Atzilut is only because we must use some terminology we can grasp, and that we are only speaking of Shorashim of Spherot and otiot, as is a simple precept in all sifrei Kabbalah) in these places our mind has no entry, that is: our mind is only able to grasp images; that is, or pictures, or Otiot. (I have written a bit about this, and spoken to people about this and can send you if you are interested.) The mind has no grasp of any form that is more sublime than this.
Therefore, I understand, the otiot hakedoshot are the most sublime forms that we can grasp, and that H”Y speaks to us in these forms, that is, He clothes His will in these forms (see Likutey Moharan 1, 4;9). These letters are the calim that hold the supernal lights you speak of, that is, the neshama of the letters. There is much to speak of on this, but this is the main point, the neshama is only grasped through the cli which contains it, and the particular form of each letter this is the deepest and truest expression of the form of that neshama that we are able to grasp. (If you understand what I am saying you will understand also that embeddded in this is what the Kabballah teaches that the sod in always tied into the peshat, the deepest with the most superficial; thus every physical form in its most superficial aspect, its shape and color; that most superficial aspect is actually the closest expression of the deepest sod of that briah. ( I have written of this and this is part and parcel of this central idea of my understanding of the connection between art and Torah)
I think that what you revealed to me of your tefilla to know of the source of the letters above, you we expressing that you wished to grasp the neshama of the otiot and not the otiot as a simple guf. The Baal Shem Tov HaKadosh speaks a great deal about this, for certainly this is the goal. The visualization of the shamos in Tefilla and in Yechudim is truly “hechsher Mitzvah” alone. The visualization of the letters is preparing the calim, but one’s spirit must strive to have those calim filled with Or; if not, his tefilla doesn’t get off the ground.
But the neshama will fill the forms of the letters as we know them, the neshama will, so to speak, be in the form of these letters. We cannot grasp other forms. Therefore our efforts are to ponder and penetrate these forms with all our being.
in short, with blessing, with Cavod.