Design and Sefirah

The cholam is a dot that rests above a letter.1 It refers to the Sefirah of Tiferes2—beauty or mercy. In general, a dot repre­sents Malchus, the last of the ten Sefiros. Malchus (which literally means kingship) in fact represents “bittul” or self-nullification—considering oneself as a mere dot or speck on the face of the earth. Through the act of self-nullification, the dot is elevated to the degree of Tiferes.


The numerical equivalent of the cholam is either ten or sixteen (depending upon whether it’s a single dot on top of a letter, or atop a vav).


Cholam means “strength.”3 In addition, when transposed, the letters of cholam, חלם,make up the words מלח, melach (salt), and מחל machal (forgiveness).4 Salt was used as a preservative and placed on every sacrifice in the Holy Temple to demon­strate that the merit of the sacrifice in procuring forgiveness for the sin remains forever, as it states:5ברית מלח—an everlast­ing covenant of salt.” The strength of salt is that it withstands the changes of time. Furthermore, when a person personifies strength, he has the perpetual power to forgive.