Isaiah (26:4) is usually translated: "Trust in G-d forever, for in Y-ah, [who is] G-d, is the everlasting rock." However, the prefix translated here as "in" can also mean "through" or "by"; and the divine name Y-ah is spelled yud-hei, the word for "rock" (tzur) can also be taken as a verb meaning "to form", and the word for "everlasting" ("olamim") can be taken to mean "worlds". Thus, the verse can be mystically translated as: "Trust in G-d forever, for with the letters yud and hei G-d formed the worlds." Based on this (and other verses), the Sages say that G-d created This World with the letter hei and the World to Come with the letter yud. (Menachot 29b)

Rebi Yehudah bar Rebi Eloy elucidated: The Holy One, Blessed is He, created two worlds, one with a Heh and one with a Yud. I do not know if the World-to-Come was created with a Yud and This World with a Heh, or if This World was with a Yud and the World-to-Come was with a Heh. But then it says,"These are the generations of Heaven and Earth in the creating of them (behibar-am) . . ." (Bereishis 2:4); don't read "behibar'am" (i.e., in the creating of them) but "b'Heh bar'am" (i.e., with a Heh they were created). Thus we see that This World was created with a Heh and the World-to-Come was created with a Yud. (Menachos 29b)

Anyone who knows what the Yud and Hey stand for? or how to define their meaning in these explanations?

  • I believe the Maharal discusses this a bit in different places. If memory serves, the yud has to do with the unity of olam haba being the simplest/most unified character, whereas the heh is comprised of a daled which represent physical breadth and (perhaps) the yud within the heh functions as the center (?; I'm recreating from memory - I doubt it's exactly that...)
    – Loewian
    Apr 12, 2015 at 4:41
  • chochma and binah?
    – user813801
    Jul 7, 2023 at 6:20
  • Reb Yitzchak Eizik Chaver explains that the yud is a point, i.e. a singularity, and the heh represents the four dimensions of physical existence (Hearos on Maalos HaTorah).
    – The GRAPKE
    Jul 10, 2023 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


Rashi explains it.

The Yud represents the fewness of the Tzadikim, the Heh with its open bottom represents the ability to return to hashem (teshuvah) it also represents the descent prepared for the wicked.

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