מ – Mem – Water, sea, ocean, fountain, womb. Sea of Binah, Understanding. Fountain of Chokmah, Wisdom. Sea of Yetzurah, Form. Source of life (womb). Constant change (water).
ע – Ayin – Eye, fountain, spring. Eye of G-d, Kether. Fountain/spring of life, from which all things flow, issue, come forth.
עםַ – ‘am – 5971 – a people, a tribe, a flock, folk, men, nation, kinsfolk, kindred.
עםַ – ‘am (Aramaic) – 5972 – people.
עםִ – ‘im – 5973 – accompanying, against, and, as (as long as), before, beside, by (by reason of), for all, from (among, between), in, like, more than, of, to (unto), with.
עםִ – ‘im (Aramaic) – 5974 – by, from, like, to (toward), with.
שָׁמַע – shema’ – 8085 – (Shin, that, which + mem-ayin) – to hear intellectually.
שְׁמַע – shema’ (Aramaic) – 8086 – (Shin, that, which + mem-ayin) – hear, obey.
שֵׁמַע – shêma’ – 8088 – (Shin, that, which + mem-ayin) – sound, rumor, announcement, audience, bruit, fame, hearing, loud, report, speech, tidings.
שֹׁמַע – shôma’ – 8089 – (Shin, that, which + mem-ayin) – a report, fame.
מעְהָ – me’âh (Aramaic) – 4577 – (pronoun form of mem-ayin) – the bowels, belly.
מעֵהֶ – mê’âh – 4578 – (pronoun form of mem-ayin) – intestines, abdomen, sympathy, a vest, the stomach, the uterus, the genital seat, the heart, belly, bowels, heart, womb.
מעָהָ – mê’âh – 4579 – (pronoun form of mem-ayin) – grain of sand, gravel.
עמֻהָּ – ‘ummâh – 5980 – (pronoun form of ayin-mem) – near, beside, along with, against, at, hard by, in points.
מעָךַ – mâ’ak – 4600 – (pronoun form of mem-ayin) – to press, to pierce, to emasculate, to handle, bruised, stuck, be pressed.
עמָםַ – ‘âmam – 6004 – (masculine plural of ayin-mem) – to associate, to overshadow, become dim, hide.
נעָםֵ – nâ’êm – 5276 – (verbal form of ayin-mem) – to be agreeable, to pass in beauty, to be delight, to be pleasant, to be sweet.
נעֹםַ – no’am – 5278 – (verbal form of ayin-mem) – agreeable, delight, suitableness, splendor, grace, beauty, pleasant.
מעַןַ – ma’an – 4616 – (plural first person of mem-ayin) – heed, purpose, on account of, in order that, because of, to the end that, for’s sake, lest, that, to.
The core of this gate is עםַ, ‘am, the people or tribe. The image is simple. Mem is best translated as womb here, and Ayin as spring or fountain. The people, the tribe, are all those springing forth like a fountain from one womb. This is not necessarily literal, though it can be. Both letters are fountains, sources. A tribe all comes from one source. They are knitted together by blood ties. Looking at other instances of this gate, ‘im, from among or between, we see the same thing. That which is from the midst, that which comes from the same source. Shema’, to hear intellectually, this is teachings or commands that are taken inside, made part of. The which is made into tribe. Mê’âh, the guts or bowels, the innards, the insides. The part within, that which is tribe. ‘Ummâh is the same meaning as shema’. Mâ’ak, to press, to pierce, to go into, to become tribe with. ‘Âmam, to associate something with, making it dim, overshadowing it, making them tribe together, losing the separation and distinction. Nâ’êm, to be delightful, to be beautiful, to be pleasing, to make a bond with, to become tribe with. Ma’an, to a specific purpose, in order that, central to, the core, middle, essence, a single source, source of the tribe.
Mem (70) + Ayin (40) = 110. 110 is also Father of Faith, the roof of a bridal canopy, resemblance, to embrace, at the end of the day, right hand, a flag, and fool. To take a couple of these, Father of the Faith is obviously the one who is the source of the Faith, i.e., the patriarch of the tribe that is the Faith, the spring from which it came. The roof of the bridal canopy is that which covers the beginning of a people, for in the joining of the married couple, a new people springs up. To embrace is of course bringing together, making to be tribe. The flag or banner or standard is what units the troops to the group identity, the tribal identity.
110 reduces to 2, which is beit, beth, house. This is the place of the tribe, the home of the tribe. By extension, it is the homeland of the tribe.
Ultimately, this gate is the tutary spirit of the tribe, the ultimate source of the stream. The lesson of the 189th gate is to return to that source, that spirit, that spring, to know where you came from and be true to the Source. Only then can you move forward with the Work with confidence and in a matter consistent with the Stream.