The Hebrew letter Kof (pronounced koof) is the 19th
letter of the Alef-Bet, and the first letter of the Hebrew
word “Kadosh” which means holy. In Kadosh time we
step back and ponder why we do the things we do. We
ask ourselves: How can we infuse more kindness, caring
and compassion into our daily living?
The images in this presentation are original and created
by Susan Marie Shuman with MS Paint and MS Word.
In Hebrew, Kof means monkey,
a creature similar to a human
being in appearance, but lacks
the higher capacities. This
directs us to rise above our
animalistic nature and to
model ourselves the image of
the Creator. The goal is to
realize and embrace our true
spiritual nature apart from the
The Golden Kof
The Kof is the only
letter which extends
below the line of the
other letters, indicating
descent into the lower
world, but also the
ability to ascend from
Kof symbolizes the cycles of
nature, changing seasons, as well
as the human life cycle. It is the
constant movement, circulation,
and change of life.
Rabbi Shlomo Itzkhaki, aka Rashi, was a
notable commentator and prolific writer
who created his own style of Hebrew
script. Rashi’s script turned out to be a
prototype to the modern Hebrew cursive
The bottom of the Kof is a person
calling “Holy” (Kadosh) to become
One with God. The top line,
protecting and reaching down, is the
Such is Kof. The voice by which we
allow God to be present by saying,
“Kadosh.” It is also the voice through
which God asks us if we desire the
Holy One’s presence.
Nothing can be Holy without the voice of
Kof to say it is. As well, we, with our own
voices, can make the entire world Holy.
The Phoenician Alphabet is the oldest
substantiated alphabet. It is an abjad,
meaning it is comprised of only consonants.
Like Hebrew, there are twenty-two
characters in this alphabet. Since there were
no vowels, matres lectionis, (Mother of
Reading) was implemented, which refers to
the use of certain consonants to indicate a
vowel. In Hebrew these letters are Hei, Vav,
Yud and later, Alef.
Similar to the Phoenician Alphabet
(above) that it replaced, the Paleo script
was used by the Israelites around the
10th century BCE. It fell out of favor
during the 5th century BCE when
Aramaic became the preferred writing
system for Hebrew scribes
There is a story behind this Kof.
After creating it, I was unable to
come up with a suitable name. So,
Rabbi Fuchs and I decided to have
a contest to Name That Kof. The
winner was Akuokuo (KoKo) Vallis,
who blogs over at
The following Kofs are inspired by my subconscious after compiling/editing
Rabbi Fuchs’ book, Why the Kof? Getting the Best of Rabbi Fuchs.
The more I learned about Kof, the more I wanted to learn. Creating them was
a peaceful and almost surreal experience. Now, I cannot stop and am working
my way through the rest of the Hebrew Alef-Bet.
That gives me an idea! Have you ever created a Kof? You’ve got to try it! I
would be interested to see your designs. So let’s have a contest!
Submit your creations to me, Susan Marie Shuman, at
email@example.com (no limit on entrees) by October 4, Erev
Sukkot. The artist of the Kof considered most inspiring by Rabbi Fuchs and me
will receive a free signed copy of his forthcoming book, Why Triple Chai?
More of the Best of Rabbi Fuchs.
The Rest of the Kofs