Carlo Suares: Sepher Yetsira: Placed in the Mouth in Five Places

Sepher Yetsira Index

Sepher Yetsira: 2:3

Suares summarizes this verse and doesn't translate or comment on it. Peter Hayman sees it as a relatively late insertion into the early manuscript web, possibly with Islamic sources, that really doesn't fit in with the rest of the text -- it's presence had been cited in the past as proof of a late authorship of the SY. Kaplan changes the subject to the five final letters and his five-dimensional system. Glotzer quotes Rabbinical reasoning and disproven sexism.
2:3   Twenty-two foundation letters: They are engraved with voice, carved with breath, and placed in the mouth in five places: AChHO, BVMP, GYKO, DTLNTh, ZSShRTz.   Kaplan SY 1991 Short p.263
9   The twenty-two letters are the foundation: three primary letters, seven double (letters), and twelve simple (letters).

(17a)   The twenty-two letters: they are hewn out in the air, carved out by the voice, fixed in the mouth in five positions. Aleph, Het, He, Ayin; Bet, Waw; Mem, Pe, Gimel, Zayn; Kaph, Qof Dalet, Tet; Lamed, Nun, Taw; Zayin, Samek; Shin, Resh, Sade.   Hayman, 2004 Ms K p.93
Does the detailed linguestic information belong to the earliest recoverable stage of he text or has it been added later in the post-Islamic period as a form of explanatory commentary?   The issue becomes: has the Short Recension preserved the earlier form of SY or the Long/Saadyan Recension? ... Finally, we could add that the content of para 17 is at variance both with itself and the rest of the book. For what part does a fivefold division of the letters of the alphabet play in the rest of the SY? -- none whatsoever! In fact, the opening part of the paragraph (in its Long Recension form) with its threefold division of the three mothers, seven double and tweleve simple letters (integral to the structure of SY) conflicts with the fivefold division which follows. This three fold division is chosen on the basis of far more simplistic linguistic theories than that found in the longer verion of para 17. The threefold division certanly lies at the base of the SY tradition and governs the structure of the work. Particularly for this latter reason Gruenwald, Scholem and Weinstock all regard para 17 as a later accertion to the book. I conclude that para 17a belongs to the same point in the explansion of the book as stage three of para 12 ... If we take this view of the relatively late date of para 17 in the development of the SY tradition, then there is no need to invoke early Indian/Sanskrit influence (as does Liebes 200:236-37) in order to counteract a post-Islamic dating of SY.   Hayman SY 2004 p.95, 97-98
It is significant to note that all five families are present in Bereshit, the first word of the Torah.

One of the mysteries of the Sefer Yetzirah is the fact that the double letters are not mentioned. These double letters are the ones which have different forms in the middle and at the end of a word. Mem, Nun, Tsadi, Peh and Kaf. As the Talmud states, the forms of these letters were forgotten, and later re-instituted by the prophets. There is absolutely no reference to these doubles in Sefer Yetzirah.   Kaplan, SY 1991 p. 103
The Vilna Gaon remarks, "The five places of the mouth is represented by the Hey in God's name. Also, the root of the letters are from the wind of God (Binah) which is [the first] Hey.

Hey has a numberical value of five. The Tetragrammaton has two Heys. The first is usually said to represent Binah. The Gaon says it is prepresented by a Hey becaose it is thes source of the five letter groups. The mouth itself is generally associated in Kabbalah with Malchut. Malchut is feminine and according the Talmud, women talk nine times more than men. The second Hey therefore represents Malchut and the pronounciation groups are called "the five utterances of the mouth.   Leonard Glotzer The Fundamentals of Jewish Mysticism 1992 p.80
2:3   This verse classifies the Autiot phonetically:

4 gutterals
3 labials
4 palatals
5 linguals
5 dentals
Aleph, Hhayt, Hay, Ayn
Bayt, Waw, Mem, Phay
Ghimel, Yod, Kaf, Qof
Dallet, Tayt, Lammed, Noun, Tav
Zyan, Sammekh, Sheen, Raysh, Tsadde

  Suares, SY 1976 p.95