Not long ago, as my mother was contemplating her next move in a Scrabble game we were playing, the thought occurred to me: the game of Scrabble must have been invented by an undercover mystic!

(For those who are unfamiliar with this particular board game, Scrabble consists of a gridded board and 100 tiles, each containing a letter from the alphabet. Each letter is ascribed a value, the rarer letters — such as j, z, or q — having higher values. Each player takes seven random tiles. When the player's turn arrives, the tiles — some or all of them — are used to form words on the board. The word created cannot stand on its own; it must either incorporate a letter already on the board, or it must adjoin an existing letter (with the adjoining letters creating a word of its own). The board is also sprinkled with choice spaces which offer the opportunity to double or triple the value of a particular letter or word.)

Kindness, elephants, the 14th century, gravity, Amsterdam, and the internet were all created by Hebrew lettersAnd now, a little primer for those who are unfamiliar with the esoteric workings of our particular world according to the ancient wisdom of Kabbalah. All of creation is constituted of various combinations of the 22 letters of the Holy Tongue. The world was created with ten Divine utterances, enumerated in the first chapter of Genesis — "G‑d said let there be..." Every noun, verb, and adjective in existence is a product of an utterance, or a reconstituted combination or permutation of the letters of one of these utterances. For example: kindness, elephants, the 14th century, gravity, Amsterdam, and the internet were all created by Hebrew letters. Furthermore, according to kabbalistic teachings, these holy letters perpetually sustain all these creations; if G‑d were to cease uttering a particular utterance, all the creations which are vivified by the letters of that utterance would simply cease to exist.

Every soul is dispatched to this world and is armed with a unique combination of letters/tiles. These "letters" are the person's talents and abilities, strengths and weaknesses, the locale where the soul will operate, the soulmate it will marry, its health, physical appearances, and much more. Interestingly, Kabbalah teaches that the most basic division of letters — soul-powers and elements of creation — is seven, and when subdivided to the maximum, the sum total of these elements is 100!

It would be nice to be able to choose our tiles, but that is not an option. We must make do with what we are allocated.

The purpose of this "game" is to use our tiles, and wise combinations of them, to form productive words. We do not live in a vacuum—we must use our tiles to build upon that which we have previously accomplished, as well as the accomplishments and achievements of many other players who have preceded us with their productive works. Now, "productive words" should not be misconstrued by the non-Scrabble-minded person to mean words which are commonly used or recognized. "Aa," "qursh," and "xu" might not mean anything to many of us (in fact, Microsoft Word just put red squiggly lines beneath all those "words"), but they count for points — as per the official Scrabble Dictionary. In real life, too, we have a guide book that tells us which combinations of letters count for points. The Torah's rules might not always make sense, but we must follow the rules which were set by the inventor of the game.

The biggest mistake made by those who are new to Scrabble is to place too high a premium on the value ascribed to the individual letters. More important than the value of the letters is their positioning and wise usage. Low-value tiles which are appended to higher value letters or words, or when judiciously placed on the premium spaces on the board can yield much higher scores than high value tiles which are imprudently squandered.

"Aa," "qursh," and "xu" might not mean anything to many of usThe same is all too true in the grand scheme of things. We must never be discouraged by the hand we were dealt by divine providence. Every tile has incredible potential, provided that it is wisely used. The most mundane day can be as valuable as Yom Kippur, or more so, if used properly. The simple soul who sincerely serves G‑d with the recitation of sincere Psalms and by giving charity with a smile, is as precious to G‑d as the charismatic intellectual who was seemingly endowed with more valuable tiles, or more so.

Lastly, the ultimate Scrabble accomplishment is the "bingo," using all seven tiles to create a word. No matter the value of the tiles, a bingo is rewarded with a fifty point bonus.

When we commit our all to G‑d; when we devote all the resources at our disposal to His service, the whole which is produced equals far more than the sum of the parts.

Let us not be distracted and concerned by the scores tallied by the other players of the game. Let us concentrate on scoring bingos — every turn of the game.