Gimel – Susan Shuman


The gimel, ג is the third letter of the Alef-Bet. It is a derivative of the Hebrew word, gamol, which means ‘nurturing to ripeness’. ג is made up of the Hebrew letters Vavו  and Yud, י and seemingly depicts a wealthy person in pursuit of one who is less fortunate. The latter being the fourth letter of the Alef-Bet, dalet ד.  In any case, the yud is symbolic of the charity (Tzedakah) that is bestowed upon Dalet by Gimmel.

Gimmel is also reminiscent of the Hebrew word gamal, meaning camel. The camel is indicative of the gamol chesed, or one who performs acts of kindnessThis animal is the bearer of life’s burdens during his journey through the desert (life, perhaps) providing sustenance to those he meets along the way.  Gamol comes from the verb ‘to wean’ and the phrase, ‘a nursing newborn’ illustrates autonomy along with the need for nourishment.

In the Gematria, Gimel ג is assigned the number three, suggesting that two opposing forces must fuse in order to create a third, more complete entity. Aleph’s Oneness speaks toward the pinnacle of perfection that is inherent in God while the dichotomy of Bet denotes diversity and incompatibility. Yet, Gimel—supporting the theory that it is indeed possible to neutralize contrasting forces and merge them into an enduring, wholesome entity—is the result of Aleph and Bet’s fusion.

King Solomon himself, supports this theory: “The three-ply cord is not easily severed (Eccl. 4:12).”
Finally, the human race has managed to survive and thrive not merely through our ability to procreate, but by our three-way partnership with God. As the Sages teach, there are three partners in man: God, father, and mother (Kiddushin 30b).





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