In Modern Hebrew, Kavod means honor and respect. Giving Kavod is a guiding principle in Judaism.
The mitzvot (commandments) direct us to give honor to G-d, the Torah, our parents and one another.
When we examine each letter, we discover that their synergy intensifies the meaning of the word.
KAF is the first letter of Kavod. Kaf is also the first letter of Kavanah, the genuine intention with which we pray. This intention is a key component of giving honor and respect.
The kaf has a dagesh in the middle that determines the pronunciation of the letter. The round shape of the dagesh symbolizes the very concept of honor. It is a complete and continuous circle of giving honor to those who have honored us, with their dedication, energy and love.
VET is the first letter of the Torah and represents our sacred texts. As stated in Pirkei Avot,
“The one who honors the Torah, will be honored by others.”
VAV is perhaps, the most complex letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It can be a vowel or a consonant.
When it is placed at the beginning of a word, it means ‘and.’ Connection is an essential element of Kavod. The vav reminds us of a bond/partnership, whether it is between G-d and us, Torah and us or between one another.
DALET is the fourth letter of the alphabet; the number four alludes to the tetragrammaton of G-d’s unspoken name, Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey.
According to gematria, the numerical value of Kavod is 32. The value of the word Lev (heart) is also 32.
It is no coincidence that our hearts are connected to Kavod.
Biblically, our people have fulfilled many mitzvot with willing and loving hearts.
In this artistic expression, genuine intention flows from the kaf toward the heavens.
The dagesh is highlighted with the letter yod, a reference to the 10 commandments which includes
“Honor (Kabed) your father and your mother.”
Above the vet is an image of the Torah. Below the vet, a copper path which leads to it.
From the vav, flow two intertwining threads that represent connection .
The dalet has four echoing lines, highlighting the significance of the number four in Judaism.
The word Kavod hovers amidst metallic colors of gold, silver and copper that are used
in the artist’s Judaic paintings to represent religious subject matter and holy realms.
When we take into account our genuine intention, G-d, the Torah and connection,
a deeper understanding of Kavod is revealed.
MARLENE BURNS Abstract Painting and Photography