Otiyot Hayot - Living Letters

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Otiyot Chayot
Otiyot Chayot
אותיות חיות
Ot’ee’yot Ha’ay’ot
Otiyot Hayot, Oteeot, Oteiot, Chayot, Chaiot
A system of movements devoted to harnessing the mystical energies of the Hebrew alphabet and bringing the letters alive.

Using fluid body movements, Otiyot Hayot founder Yehudit Goldfarb has created a system of spiritual awakening by teaching students how they can communicate with God through the Hebrew letters.


[edit] Tzfat-Based Center

Yehudit Goldfarb opens her studio on the western edge of the Artists Quarter, Safed to individuals who wish to integrate Jewish learning, meditation and prayer in physical movements. Yehudit teaches that the process of creating Hebrew letters with the body can lead to healing and renewal. She roots her system in Jewish and Kabbalistic traditions.

[edit] Beginnings

The philosophy behind Otiyot Ha’yot, Living Letters, came from the discipline of Tai Chi. Otiyot Hayot’s creator, Yehudit Goldbarb, was teaching Tai Chi in California more than 30 years ago when she began to wonder about the connection between the power of the body’s movements and the power of the Hebrew letters.

[edit] Kabbalah of Hebrew Letters

According to Kabbalistic belief, each Hebrew letter contains an energy. This energy increases as the letters combine to form words. Each letter is connected to a number as well. Kabbalists and others who follow this school of thought compare the letters, their numerical equations and the sums of these words and phrases as they attempt to understand secrets and messages that the letters convey.

[edit] Tai Chi Connection

Yehudit Goldfarb felt strong powers through the body movements that are practiced in Tai Chi. As Yehudit began to explore the possibilities of using the body to create Hebrew letters, she found that she was drawing closer to Judaism. In time, she developed twenty-two distinct body movements which correlate to the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet.

[edit] Development

As time went by, Yehudit became more comfortable with expressing her spirituality through these movements. Slowly, with the collaboration of her students, the “right” movement for each letter came into being. Yehudit continued to widen the scope of the project as she started to combine the letter movements and create Hebrew words and phrases. Participants in her classes felt that these movements allowed them to express themselves spiritually.

[edit] Maor HaLev Studio

The philosophical, theological and practical maturation of the concept of Living Letters resulted in the “Maor HaLev” -- Light of the Heart -- studio which exists in Yehudit’s home in Tzfat. Yehudit offers classes for beginners and advanced students. As the students learn the body movement of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, they develop the understanding and confidence to combine the movements into words, phrases and even prayers. Yehudit teaches that practitioners of Otiyot Hayot can even use the system to communicate with G-d.

[edit] Meditation

The movement patterns of Otiyot Hayot are a meditative exercise that allows an individual to grow spiritually through physical movement. When used properly the movements are a tool whose flowing, integrative movements calm a person and enable him to tap into each letter’s energy. Advanced practitioners become skilled at conveying their deepest and innermost feelings through the physical act of creating the Hebrew letters through movement.

[edit] Power of Hebrew Letters

According to Kabbalistic tradition, G-d used the Hebrew letters to create the world. The Hebrew letters are powerful. They can be used as vehicles which allow individuals to strengthen their own spiritual being. Practitioners can create names, prayers or simply a meaningful word or phrase from a prayerbook or psalm. According to the Otiyot Hayot system, Hebrew vowels also play a role in this process. The vowels, according to Yehudit, correspond to the elements of the Tree of Life. The vowel movements reflect various Kabbalistic concepts of our inner essence.


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