The Hebrew word for Greek is יון.

I heard from a rabbi, but don't remember the source he mentioned, the deeper meaning of the word.

That when Greeks first begin to deny, chos vishalom, the Torah, it starts out as an intellectual idea, which is represented by the letter י , referring to chochmah,a single point of intellect.

Then after a while, it starts to descend from intellect to affect one's emotions, and they start getting emotional about denying it, no longer with any logical basis, and this is represented by the letter ו , which is the idea of drawing downwards, as well as referring to the 6 emotions.

Then after that, Rachmanuh Leetslawn, they go even further down, into the 50 gates of impurity, represented by a final noon ן.

What's the source for this idea? I know it's gotta be somewhere since it was said by a legit rabbi and at the time he gave a source I just don't remember what it was.

  • 2
    Hi Yitzchak L, welcome to Mi Yodeya, great to have you learning with us!
    – Shmuel
    Feb 21, 2022 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Tzvi Freeman from Chabad.org explains the reason why the Lubavitcher Rebbe connects the word for quicksand (Eurvin 19a and Tehillim 43) to the word יון Yavan, e.g. Greek:

Water mixes with sand, dirt and clay. You step in it and you can't get out. The more you try to climb up, the further down you go.

The idea of the deeper meaning of the word Yavan, seems to be explained by R' Freeman in his article:

Take a look at the letters that spell Yavan in Hebrew: יון . It starts with a small point of a yud — representing wisdom. That stretches down to become a vav. And the vav stretches even further down, below the line, to become a long nun. It's all a description of the process of intellect sinking into the material world and, with nothing to hold it in place, sinking further and further.

Unfortunately, I was not able to locate the orginal teaching given by the Rebbe himself on this subject. Only the article written by R' Freeman.

  • Nice find so far, is there some kind of indices for the entire likutei sichos organized by topic, available online? Feb 21, 2022 at 18:02
  • I personally never heard of such an index. The Sichos are literally "collected talks" on various subjects. You might find this interesting: chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/2608230/jewish/… you can search for "Likkutei Sichot" and "Sichos in English"
    – Shmuel
    Feb 21, 2022 at 19:14

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