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Aleph

Aleph

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Published by Philip
For centuries, Jewish scholars have perceived the individual letters
of the Hebrew alphabet as containing important spiritual lessons, and aleph
(a), in its exalted position at the head of the alphabet, is considered to be
the repository of all the alphabet’s wisdom. Aleph (a) is much more than
just the Hebrew equivalent of the letter “A” — merely the first in a series of
letters. It is considered by Jewish theologians to actually be made in the
image of God, and is thus the lord and master of all the letters — a father
with twentyone
children.1 In fact, the first two letters of the Hebrew
alphabet — aleph and beit — together spell ba (av) “father”, thus teaching
that all things begin with God, the Father of all.
For centuries, Jewish scholars have perceived the individual letters
of the Hebrew alphabet as containing important spiritual lessons, and aleph
(a), in its exalted position at the head of the alphabet, is considered to be
the repository of all the alphabet’s wisdom. Aleph (a) is much more than
just the Hebrew equivalent of the letter “A” — merely the first in a series of
letters. It is considered by Jewish theologians to actually be made in the
image of God, and is thus the lord and master of all the letters — a father
with twentyone
children.1 In fact, the first two letters of the Hebrew
alphabet — aleph and beit — together spell ba (av) “father”, thus teaching
that all things begin with God, the Father of all.

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Published by: Philip on Nov 21, 2008
Copyright:Public Domain

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02/01/2013

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a
t c r q x p u s n m l k y f j z w h d g ba
3
Chapter 1
ALEPH
In God\u2019s Image

For there are three that bear record in heaven:
the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit,
and these three are one.

\u2014 I John 5:7 (KJV)

For centuries, Jewish scholars have perceived the individual letters of the Hebrew alphabet as containing important spiritual lessons, andaleph (a), in its exalted position at the head of the alphabet, is considered to be the repository of all the alphabet\u2019s wisdom.Aleph (a) is much more than just the Hebrew equivalent of the letter \u201cA\u201d \u2014 merely the first in a series of letters. It is considered by Jewish theologians to actually be made in the image of God, and is thus the lord and master of all the letters \u2014 a father with twenty-one children.1

In fact, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet \u2014aleph andbeit \u2014 together spellba (av) \u201cfather\u201d, thus teaching that all things begin with God, theFather of all.

ha,The Three-In-One

The cornerstone of Jewish theology is \u201cHear O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is One!\u201d However, the writings of the Sages acknowledge thataleph (a, the letter which traditionally represents God) consists of three parts. In turn, these three parts are themselves individual letters of the alphabet.2 The three letters that comprise thealeph (a) are twoyods (y), separated by a slantedvav (w), as shown below.

1 Rabbi Michael L. Munk,The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet, p43.
2 Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,The Alef-Beit, p24, 378.
In His Own Words
Chapter One
4
Thus it can be seen howaleph (a) \u2014 which consists of three parts but has
a numeric value of one \u2014 is symbolic of God, the Three-in-One.

Unlike the English alphabet, each Hebrew letter has a numeric value:a = 1,b= 2,g = 3, etc. Therefore, if we calculate the numeric values of the letters comprisingaleph (a), we find that they have a total value of twenty-six (y +w +y = 10 + 6 + 10 = 26). But what is the significance of twenty-six? It is the numeric value of God\u2019s name \u2014 YHVH,hw hy (y +h +w +h = 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 = 26) \u2014 once again demonstrating howaleph (a), the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, represents God.

h God\u2019s Name \u2014 YHVH

What kind of name is YHVH? The name of God,hw hy (YHVH), is the Bible\u2019s grandest example of the principle: \u201cIt is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.\u201d3 There is much in God\u2019s great name for us to explore; and to do so is to walk on holy ground. In fact, the name YHVH is considered so holy that the Jews dare not speak it. Whenever the Torah is read aloud and the name of YHVH is encountered, the wordAdonai (\u201cLord\u201d) is substituted in order to avoid uttering this holy name \u2014 which is just as well since no one knows with certainty its proper pronunciation.4 Also, when copying Torah scrolls, a scribe exercises the utmost caution when printing God\u2019s name. Before printing the lettershw hy, he says aloud, \u201cI am about to write the name of God in honor of His holy name.\u201d If a king should address him as he writes the name of God, he is not permitted to pause for a reply, but must first complete the printing of these four sacred letters. And, should a scribe

3 Proverbs 25:2
4 Even the wordAdonai is not used conversationally among the orthodox because of the holiness it
derives from being a substitute for YHVH. When referring to YHVH in daily conversation, they
use the wordHaShem, which means \u201cthe name\u201d.
\u00e7Vav
\u00e7Yod
Yod\u00e8
Alephha
5
make the slightest error in printing God\u2019s name, he is forbidden to correct
his mistake. The entire sheet of parchment must be replaced.

Bible translators have long struggled with how to translate YHVH (referred to as thetetragrammaton, a Greek word meaning \u201cthe sign of the four [letters]\u201d). The King James Version of the Bible makes no attempt to translate the word YHVH, but simply substitutes the word LORD, printed in capital letters. Other versions use \u201cYahweh\u201d, or \u201cJehovah\u201d; but the accuracy of these translations remains doubtful at best. The difficulty arises from the fact that the consonants comprisinghwhy (YHVH) may be pronounced in various ways, and we do not know how God pronounced His name when He first revealed it to Moses. For instance, depending upon the speaker\u2019s accent, theyod (y) may be pronounced as a \u201cy\u201d, or a \u201cj\u201d. Andvav (w) may be pronounced \u2014 once again, depending on the speaker\u2019s accent \u2014 either as a consonant (\u201cv\u201d or \u201cw\u201d) or as a vowel (\u201cu\u201d or \u201co\u201d).Hei (h), on the other hand, is always pronounced with an \u201ch\u201d sound. Thus there are many possible pronunciations forhw hy, but no one knows which one is correct.

To further complicate the matter, no one knows what vowel sounds should be inserted between the consonants. Though vowel markings (in the form of dots and dashes placed above or below the letters) were later developed and added to all of the other words of theTorah, no vowel symbols were added tohw hy since no one knew how this word was originally pronounced.

Note the lack of vowel signs in the wordhw hy (YHVH) which is shown above in the small rectangle.5 The actual pronunciation of God\u2019s name was a secret known only to some of the Levitical priests, and was

5 This passage is taken from Exodus 3:15

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