The meaning of AHYIN
Jewish Mysticism teaches that there is immense meaning in both a name and within every single letter. A name contains the essence of the person or object it represents, and it holds within it secrets to the purpose of their existence. Every letter also has profound significance and is the subject of deep Judaic exploration.
AHYIN in hebrew means "eye". It is also the 16th letter in the hebrew alphabet. Both these aspects lend it great bearing as the name of our brand.
AHYIN - eye
The eye is an iconic motif and talisman across cultures - A window to the soul, a sensory portal to the outside world, a symbol of protection, the chakra of intuition & insight. Judaism explores many these aspects of the eye from either a religious or cultural perspective. Practically however, we engage with our eyes in a spiritual way, during our prayers.
On Friday night women light Shabbat candles, circling the flames three times with their hands, drawing the light in toward their face and body, and finally cover their closed eyes with their palms. At this point they say the blessing and often a personal prayer. It is believed that those candles hold within them the light of creation, and in this moment of physical movement, closing of the eyes and reciting of the "bracha", we draw this holy light into our bodies.
This divine light is meant to nourish us, to inspire us and to be released into the world by us, over the coming week.
For this reason we selected the name "AHYIN" (eye) to represent our brand, and the overlapping Shabbat candle flames as our logo.
AHYIN - Mystical Insights
We can learn about an aspect of the letter AHYIN in the Torah, as we follow the story of Adam and Eve. When the original man and woman lived in the garden of Eden, completely connected to G-ds essence, the Torah says that they were clothed in OR, meaning light (spelt in hebrew letters aleph, vav, reish). However after Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge and in that moment separate from G-d, misaligning from their purest, most holy selves, the Torah describes that they are clothed in OR meaning skin (spelt in hebrew letters ahyin, vav, reish). Suddenly they are no longer bodies of light, but they are physical in the way that we understand humankind today. In some respect their clear connection to g-d has been veiled. The letter Aleph is associated with the spiritual realm of OR - Light; However the letter Ahyin is connected to the physical realm of OR - Skin. That is, the world in which our work is to use action and prayer to tap back into our purest selves, to connect with g-d and higher spirituality.
The products that we create at AHYIN carry this intention and essence, to foster spiritual connection in a physical world.
In Judaism there exists a concept called “Hiddur Mitzvah” - the beautification of a commandment - whereby we employ aesthetics to enhance a Mitzvah beyond halachic instruction.
An artist engaging in Hiddur Mitzvah finds a holy trajectory for their craft. By enhancing religious objects and actions, we are glorifying the G-d who bestowed them upon us.
Humankind was created to respond to beauty which engages and stimulates our senses. Artistry adds personal dimension which helps us to enjoy and find meaning in religious acts.
It is indeed holy to foster connection to ritual through its physical beautifications.
SHABBAT & CHALLAH
The essence of Shabbat
As Shabbat descends, a spirit of peacefulness envelopes existence. It is the seventh day on which G-d rested from creating the earth, and so we too take time to pause from the chaos of daily experience. Our souls yearn to tap into this sublime stillness and allow our bodies to experience the magic of deep rest. We transcend from a physical mindset into spirit consciousness, as we separate from the demands of time and toil. From when the sun sets on Friday night until three stars appear the following eve, we honor this gift of stillness through gathering, ritual and prayer.
This sacred space is our blessing and birthright. It holds potential for profound rejuvenation and inspiration, for all of us and all creation. Each of our homes takes on the spirit of a temple, as we welcome the Shabbat.
A feminine perspective
The act of separating challah is a special mitzvah entrusted to women. The first time it is mentioned in the Torah, is in connection with our mothers Sarah & Rachel. We learn that there were three miracles initiated in Sarah’s lifetime;
“the candle light burned from one Shabbat to the next, there was blessing in the dough, and a cloud hovered over her tent.”
Generations later we still seek to access the mystical benefit of these miracles by following in her ways - lighting shabbat candles, separating the challah and observing family purity.
With these rituals we have inherited both immense blessing and responsibility. Every woman possesses the unique and magnificent power of being able to draw G-ds presence into the world, using action and space to create holy vessels for his blessing. Seekers of mystical wisdom, nurturers of family, creators of community and visionaries of the future, we contain the limitless potential and flame of our matriarchs in our innermost being.
In the times of the Temple, when mankind was both engaged with the toil of the earth and simultaneously tapped into a state of spiritual elevation, the Jewish people were commanded to set aside a portion of their dough as an offering to G-d. This separated piece was called Challah and it served to bring their attention and gratitude to The Source, whose blessings they received through the land. The Challah was given to the Kohen (High Priest) who would consume it with his family while in a state of ritual purity.
Throughout the generations women and men have continued to honor this Mitzvah, even though there is no longer a physical temple nor Priest. As they knead their dough they symbolically remove a small portion of it. Holding this piece in their palm, being mindful of the blessing of the food they are shaping, they say the prayer; Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.
Over time, the bread that was sanctified and eaten on Friday night became known as Challah. Every week within the sanctuaries of our homes, on the alters of our tables, we continue to “offer” G-d our gratitude for the sustenance he provides us, in all its magnificent forms.
Why do we have two loaves of Challah at the table?
When our ancestors travelled the desert for forty years, between the time that they left Egypt and entered the land of Israel, they completely depended on the manna that fell from heaven for their nourishment. Since the manna did not fall on Shabbat (Saturday) a double portion fell for each person on Friday, and as such we bless two portions of Challah at our own tables to this day.
Why do we cover the Challah on Friday night?
It is said that as the manna fell, it was protectively encased in layers of dew. We still cover our Challah to remind us of the way G-d so delicately shrouded his gift of food for our ancestors, to preserve its freshness.
In addition, the Torah specifically lists seven foods through which the land of Israel will be praised; Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
These foods should be blessed in the order that they are mentioned, however at the Shabbat meal which begins with Kiddush, we honor the grapes that ripened and became wine, before we acknowledge the wheat that gave rise to the bread. When we veil our Challah, we are protecting it from being “shamed” at receiving its blessing second.