Meaning of the Hebrew Letter Forms & Designs

gohebrew's picture

According to ancient kabballistic literature, both the very origin and shapes of the Hebrew language and alphabet are unique and have special significance.

Origin
======
Without trying to sound chauvinistic, or holier-than-thou, Hebrew has its origin not like all other human languages, which are men-made, Hebrew is made in Heaven. Hence, it has divine aspects, higher than human intellect.

We see, simply then, that there may be things about Hebrew which are difficult to understand, but with much effort we can have a better insight into those things.

Design
======
Hebrew letter forms are attributed with many special truths or explanations, which reflect both their particular shape, their very meaning (of that letters particular name), their 'gematria' or numerical equivalent, and grammatical significance.

FOR EXAMPLE, one observation of the fact that Hebrew's origin is celestial is its direction from right-to-left. Actually, Hebrew is from left-to-right in its celestial source. This is known from the Medrash, a collection of books featuring various explanations of Biblical topics, phrases, episodes, and events. G-d showed a person a little of life above. The person noticed that writing of Hebrew below is a reflection of how it's done above. So, the opposite or reflection of left-to-right is a reflection of right-to-left.

There are two other strong indicators that the origin of Hebrew is not simply a man-made creation, but spiritual.

First, sacred Hebrew text, like the text of the Bible in Hebrew contains an unusually high percentage of "meaning-patterns" because of the Divinely inspired nature of the very text. The arrangement of its letters not only contain a surface meaning when we read the text at face value.

This special arrangement contain hidden meanings too. Books have written based on serious research discovering that this text has meanings layered beneath the face value of the words. If a certain number value is applied in a pattern between the words, like every 50 letters, then a name or word perhaps is spelled out in these increments of 50 letters. Then, we look at the subject of the text, where the name or word appears very most frequently, and we find that the topic reflects the name or word.

Similar studies were performed in other large texts in other language, such as Shakespeare, the telephone book, or Encyclopedia Britanica. However, no such patter could appear appear in a way which was a statistical impossibility. This indicates that not only is the text of the Hebrew Bible pre-arranged to include special messages, but the very letters can be used in this super-human manner.

Second, there is a computer-language-like quality to Hebrew, where the language is structured according to very fine and tight rules of logic, higher than human reasoning.
For example. Hebrew words are derived from two letter root sources, which are either doubled into a pattern of four letters, or into three letters (with a third letter added to the two letters preceding it). The meaning of the word is related to this two letter root source, with the meaning modified by the second letter, and further modified by the third letter. Verbs are simply these root sources arranged in one of seven manners. The same with adjectives and nouns. The whole system defies our thinking in that it is too perfect and logical. We understand it, we appreciate it, but we see that we would be foolish to attribute it to human intelligence.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> Further I explicitly made clear that I ascribe to you only good intentions.

I appreciate that very much.

> It is you who have been personal and negative, lecturing me on inadequate humility, and now sarcastically calling me ’your highness’. I have done no such thing, and won’t.

I am sorry if I have said things which hurt your feelings. Your intentions are good. I appreciaye that. You do seek to know more, and want the truth.

My intention in "battering" you is only to "break the shell", so you become more open to seeing other perspectives. Most everything you cite is tainted (not by your fault) with well-known anti-Torah anti-frum perspectives.

It's really nit your fault, as kosher sources are either limited or hardly existant by you. You are surrounded by such perspectives, so of course your statements reflect them.

Maybe, I have to tone down my "verbal attack", but in everything I say here, the point os not the things said, the graphics etc., but how this ultimately effects the reader in his or her life.

That really is the purpose of everything.

gohebrew's picture

William,

I am confused. Please clarify this for me.

This "pilpul" of yours about "kodesh", three letters without a vov,kif, daled, and shin, is based elsewhere?

You're saying that since kodesh is made up of three "weak" and "bad" letters, how could it mean "holy"?

Hence, you conclude that analysis of a letter's shape, whether it's weak or strong, good or bad, is silly, and doesn't have to do with ots meaning or profound lesson. Right?

I am saying that the shape of letters in not silly, and have profound implications and deep lessons for us, to inspire us too to be strong and not to be weak, to be good and not to be bad (in the Torah sense).

I am basing my view on a Medrash's teaching, quoted by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yabbi Yosef Yitchok (Joseph Isaac) in a famous discourse released for study for the day of his demise. It ststes that certain letters are unstable, having a weak foundation. Although we do find words that include them which are good, many words which represent very bad things include them, and even begin with them.

Hence, according to this teaching from the Medrash, it's ok for words like kodesh to be made of 'bad' letters.

We see then that this dispute is over a moot point.

gohebrew's picture

William,

What seems to bother your "kishkes", as they say, is my juxtoposition (sp) of teaching from the Medrash, and your unfamiliarity with some of them. Hence, you conclude much too quickly that they are silly, without carefully evaluating them. You are further troubled by the fact that I associate these teachings with graphic details of letter form shapes. After all, this is a type design web site.

gohebrew's picture

jupiterboy,

> did Isaac ever get treated for PTSD?

This assumes that he was traumatized.

Actually, he was a willing sacrifice, says the Medrash. It was Abraham who was troubled. The whole episode even killed Sarah out of anguish.

The whole event resulted in Isaac's benefit. Whereas today the yole of Abraham and Jacob is stressed more than Isaac, his geatness is emphasized after the arrival of the messiah, when life becomes very different to life today.

In fact, every Yom Kippur, Jews laud Isaac's willingness to be sacrificed as a merot for the entire generation.

Furthermore, the ram actually sacrificed in Isaac's place is said to have been the same one from the act of creation, and the horn will be the same one used to herald messiah's arrival.

gohebrew's picture

jupiterboy,

> as Lott offered his daughters to appease an angry mob.

I am also troubled by this. Why did he do it? Are guests to more considered than one's own children?

Did anyone here any explanations?

We do see that their morals must have severely compromised for them to have slept with their father later.

If they had severely compromised morals already, perhaps this was justification enough in Lott's mind to offer them for appeasement to the angry mob outside. He figured, its nothing new to them.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, I would enjoy reading this midrash, if you can give a link or post it.

I was reacting to the fact that ascribing weakness to certain letters and words derived from them made no sense to me. For example, not only is 'kodesh', holy, composed of all 'bad' letters, but one word for sin, 'chet' (chaf, tet, aleph) is composed of all 'good' letters. Hence if we take this midrash as you have, a consequence is that sin becomes better than holiness!

I have no problem at all discussing letters, including Hebrew letters here. I love it. It is just that your account didn't make sense to me. So I told you so, and asked about it.

Now you seem to be qualifying what you said earlier, but I am now doubtful that this discussion is worth going further with. This is because for the sake of this discussion I am taking as a standard the sources in Torah and Talmud, and logic. You seem to be adding that any Lubavich Rebbe, as reported by you, has to be 100% right, and anyone who disagrees with your report on such a great authority must be "anti-Torah," arrogant, ignorant, etc.

Such a discussion with all the name-calling (lashon hara) is no fun, at least on my side.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> ...has to be 100% right, and anyone who disagrees with your report on such a great authority must be “anti-Torah,” arrogant, ignorant, etc.

I am not saying this.

Many less traditional Jewish people think that when more traditional Jewish people accuse the former of being anti-Torah or the like, is because of the latter's personal preference for his or her Rebbe's teachings. Why do they do this?

This is a defensive mechanism, and a justification to uphold one's point of view by dismissing the argument. It is not honest. Instead of dealing with the argument's premises, the person prefers to move the focal point away from the accused, and onto the accuser. In simple terms, they are changing the topic.

Rather, you should simply ask, "How is what I said 'anti-Torah'? I love studying Torah lessons. Aren't I 'pro-Torah'?"

Do you see my point?

----------------

Arrogance is a different matter. If you think you know better, and are unwilling to consider an opposing viewpoint, this intellectual arrogance.

Ignorance is also different. When you walk around in darkness, by ni fault of yours, and a clear illuminating guide os available nearby, this is ignorance not to have the insight of the clear illuminating guide.

gohebrew's picture

I found two references to chapters where the meaning of the shapes (ie. good and evil sources: see http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/basi-legani/11.htm) of the Hebrew letter forms are discussed, with verbal examples. Also, the meaning of the designs (ie. construction made of different letters: see http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/basi-legani/05.htm) of the Hebrew letter forms are discussed, with verbal examples.

Unfortunately, the scholarly and extensive footnotes to locations in the Zohar and the Medrash were not translated.

I have access to these books and will look them up. I'll try to post scans and translations.

I will try to visually construct examples, so it is easier to understand these ideas.

gohebrew's picture

Another fantastic exanple of the special "holy" quality of the Hebrew letters design and intrinsic intelligence is culled from the Talmud. The popular topic is sex, and an act like this is viewed in Judaism as "holy".

One of the words for "man" is "eesh", spelled with these three letters from right to left: 1) aleph, 2) yuhd, and 3) daleth:

gohebrew's picture

Ome of the words for "woman" is "eishah", spelled with these three letters from right to left: 1) aleph, 2) shin, and 3) hei:

gohebrew's picture

There are two letters which the words for man and woman share in common, the 1) aleph, and the 2) shin, as seen in this example:

These two letters: the 1) aleph, and the 2) shin, spell the Hebrew word for "fire", "aish".

When the couple only focuses upon what they share in common in their names, their physical attraction, and ignore those two other elements which they do not share in common in their names, they remain only with "fire" between them, the passion of sex.

gohebrew's picture

What are those two letters which the man and woman do not share in common in their names: the 1) yuhd, and the 2) hei.

The 1) yuhd, and the 2) hei, spells one of G-d's holy names (there are seven holy names).

This explanation of the meaning of Hebrew letters' intelligent design teaches us an important lesson about how sex is intended to be conducted.

When G-d is not a part of sexual union, it's only a fire, or mere passion, between the couple. But when G-d in included in the sexual relationship, by thinking good thoughts, and not base thoughts, when behaving in a human way, and not an animal-like way, then the sexual union is complete and whole, and includes all the letters of the couple's names.

Also, the Medrash relates an episode about Abrahan and Sarah's sexual relationships. Although they were only blessed on one occasion with a child, souls were nevertheless conceived as a result of each sexual union. These were the souls of the geirim of many generations.

What is really amazing is the fact that we learn the activity of sex is so holy that couples are together even in the next world without human bodies. Don't ask me what that means practically.

William Berkson's picture

If anyone is interested, here is the source:

"Rabbi Akiva expounded: When husband and wife are worthy, the Shechinah [Holy Presence] abides with them; when they are not worthy, fire consumes them." (Sotah 17a)

Rabbi Akiva's aggadah here is for me one of the most impressive of all the 'word play' aggadot. It is incredibly clever and profound at the same time. And it wraps up in a sentence the Jewish view of sexuality--that it is sacred within a loving marriage, and otherwise dangerous and can be destructive.

I had this aggadah in mind when I was objecting to the 'chametz--matzah' story you retold, above, because it seems to me like a very poor imitation of the real thing, of the great Rabbi Akivah. The 'emet-sheker' one is also lovely, rightly interpreted! I bet that the 'chametz--matzah' story is not Talmudic.

gohebrew's picture

William,

I heard the emet/sheker lesson many many times in the same way, and in different places in the world, from different people who recieved teachings from different great rabbis.

(Very very few were as great as Rabbi Akiva, who had very humble beginnings, if you know the inspiring story of the hole in the rock, or how his wife Rachel saw his great potential even before she married him and was subsequently disowned. We see his super-greatness in how a mistake Rabbi Akiva made is viewed by another very great rabbi, Maimonides. A mistake! The latter writes that Rabbi Akiva erred about Bar Koziba or Bar Kochba, ruling he was the long awaited messiah. Only after this famous general was killed, Rabbi Akiva realized that he erred. Killed, not died. Hence, Maimonides concludes that being killed (not dying) is a disqualification to be considered the messiah.)

I reason, when this occurs from different sources etc., it is likely a valid and authentic lesson or story.

I believe matzah/chometz is kabbalistic, but emet/sheker is from the Medrash (but it may be kabbalistic).

Unfortunately, no one as of yet has created an online database for instantly looking up words of Chazal, although the entire Bible with nikkud and taamei mikra is in a database, but not online yet.

So, it's a great tool to create a highly sophiticated OpenType Biblical Hebrew font with its contextual replacement features. That is why I seek to understand the rule of shva-nah (nuhn-hei) and etc. I believe once these rule are programmed, then the font will automatiucally place shvah-nahs, kometz katans, and hataf-kometz-ketans through the text, even if the Unicode values for these glyphs are not in the file.

Soncino Press has an excellent index in their book size English only Talmud. I used many times. About 30 years ago I looked up every occurance of Jesus in the Talmud, as Jack Goldman obm of Soncino Press restored all the references to Jesus in his Talmud, which the Czarist censor removed. It is shocking reading.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, aren't you aware of the searchable CD ROM's of Jewish classics? I use them all the time.

I have the Soncino Talmud with both English and the orignal, searchable in both English and Hebrew script, and having the capability of linking the two, as well as links to Rashi's commentary, though in Rashi script only. Also I have also Midrash Rabba in the same format. Also if you can handle it without English to help you--and I alas can't--there are the very complete CD's from Bar Illan University, which have contemporary as well as classic works.

I don't get your comment about 'many Rabbis'. Of course it is an authentic story from Akiva. Everybody else gets it from Akiva. He is known for this kind of thing, as well. It's right there in every edition of the Talmud. And the 'emet and sheker' story which I also quoted is technically speaking Talmud, not Midrash, I think, as it is from the Talmud.

You can get these from TES and Davka, among other places.

edit: Israel, if you edit here after someone else posts, the post will jump to the end, out of order. It to avoid confusion it helps to do a new post in these cases.

jupiterboy's picture

We do see that their morals must have severely compromised for them to have slept with their father later.

If they had severely compromised morals already, perhaps this was justification enough in Lott’s mind to offer them for appeasement to the angry mob outside. He figured, its nothing new to them.

If Lott’s morals were so compromised that he would later slip his daughters the kosher pickle then maybe he should have trotted his hot a$$ out to the crowd and given his daughters an example of self sacrifice.

It is this level off speculation that completely puts me off. Good luck with the study.

gohebrew's picture

William,

I am aware of those products, but a few years ago, only this one Soncino print edition in English only had a topic index. The other products only have a search function if you know already the verse number or chapter/volume number, or entire verse or statement, but they did not produce a list of locations with hyperlinks.

I am working on a searchable Unicode PDF that functions like an intelligent subject index.

You simply type in "Shabbat, carrying" and all the referenceas to this are listed with a hyerlink Google-like electronic index. You don't have to know where they are, or what is said specifically.

It makes research a breeze. Basically, an entire library is available to you to do research in less than a minute.

Can these products search by topic and return a similar hyperlink list to you?

gohebrew's picture

jupiterboy,

What is better?

Self-sacrifice before who? The evil crowd, Lott's wife, his immoral daughters, or maybe just G-d?

or

Sacrificing his immoral daughters?

You are certain that it's self-sacrifice. I am unsure, grappling with the choices. On that basis, you conclude: "How could you not see it my way? How are you flexible in your thinking?" And you use this conclusion of yours and rejection of flexible thinking, as a justification to exit the dialogue.

According to my limited thinking, this demonstrates (please, don't be offended) small mindedness.

In a famous long discourse, called "Ayin-beis", the Rebbe Reshab praises a broad-minded person as being able to be flexible in his or her thinking, and able to consider the pros and cons of two opposing viewpoints. He says that most people can not do this. They can not tolerate two opoposite thoughts in their mind.

I call this small mindedness.

In Lott's locale of evil folks, anal sex was the norm, between couples, between men, between men and animals; like murder, amputation, mistreatment of guests, and corruption, these evil people were not satisfied unless they were satiated with doing evil deeds.

It's hard for us to conceive of people so bad. If you saw "Shindler's List" and specifically the scene of the random murder by the Nazi's machine gum, followed by casual sex, then you can begin to imagine how bad the people of Sedom were.

Personally, if Lott offerred himself to the crowd for self-sacrificial anal sex, I don't think that he woiuld have appeased the angry crowd. He figured that his daughters (who had evil husbands) would do the trick.

In fact, to this very day, after each bread-based meal, we Jews wash our finger-tips after the meal, to recall the evil behavior of Sedom and "wash the salt of Sedom and extreme selfishness from our fingers and lips", at the conclusion of a meal, when a person feels most satisfied.

gohebrew's picture

David,

> Better to ask Dr. Ruth Westheimer about this notion.

This must be a joke.

I researched this woman, her expertise in sexual behavior among couples, and her personal upbringing as an Orthodox Jewess.

This hateful notion that Chassidic Jews use a sheet with a hole in it is just another example of how widespread Reform, Conservative etc. or unaffiliated Jewry know little or nothing about the lifestyles of Orthodox or Chassidic Jews. This is really the sad joke!

----

When I first was investigating Chassidism about thirty years ago, a Chassidic rabbi was asked why Orthodoxy separated men and women in their synagogues, whereas other non-Orthodox sit everyone together, like one big happy family?

I wondered what he would say now.

The Chassidic rabbi responded with an infectious smile. He said, "We're very warm-blooded people. When we sit near an attractive woman, whether she's our wife, or just a friend, our thoughts run wild. So, to promote the sanctity of communal prayer, to concentrate upon our prayers and not upon women sitting near us, men sit apart from women."

"But the other non-Orthodox men and wmen must be like angels, or very cold-blooded with no passions, because they feel that they can sit besides each other, and still concentrate fully upon their prayers, and not upon each other. They must be saints! But we are ordinary people, with warm-blood, warm feelings and natural passions. So, we sit apart."

He convinced me.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, the search function on the Davka CD of the Soncino Talmud does considerably more than looking up chapter and verse, though it doesn't have a subject index as such.

Essentially you can do word searches in either English or Hebrew script. I usually search a word or phrase, but I see you can do complex searches with 'and' or 'or' or 'not', and up to a specified number of words apart.

I find this ability to search words across the whole Tanach and Talmud wonderfully convenient. For example, I could very quickly find the references for the aggadot you referred to.

I wish you would stop your lashon hara about Reform Jews, and how ignorant we are. You are a Chassid in the computer business and I have to tell you about searchable CD ROMs of the Talmud!

I am an old guy, and I never even heard of that ridiculous hole in the sheet story until reading it recently, and have never met anyone who told me it or believed it.

gohebrew's picture

I am happy that in your life so far, you did not hear this stupity. May you live past 120 years, and still have never heard it again.

I know Mr. Alan Rosenbaum of Davka is investing many resources to make the Davka search engine very sophisticated, and to improve more and more.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. Gaining knowledge is painful, the Talmud declares. The more you learn, the greater you realize that you know even less, because you begin to realize more and more, that the complete body of Torah knowledge is infinite in size (unlike secular knowledge which is finite), so your gain is really relatively even smaller by comparision (Chassidic thought).

I myself am a product of a Reform home, and my Reform rabbi (ex-Orthodox Jew) responded to my fear to go to a Lubavitcher yeshiva by claiming that I would receive the best possible Jewish education in a Lubavitcher yeshiva.

My father a"h was an educated Reform Jew, who loved very much to gain knowledge, even though in Torah-true Judaism he knew very little. Maaseh hu haikar, emphasizes the Talmud. If you learn more, and know a lot, but do not practice, you know less than nothing, asserts the Talmud, tractate Taanit.

Unlike Greek thought, or much corruption in the USA, the Torah demands us to practice what we preach, and not to invent justifications to avoid practice.

I never asserted that Reform Jews were ignoramuses in the secular sense. I simply said that they know little or nothing about the actual day-to-day lifestyle of Chassidic Jews. I'll add that many of them believe false notions, and some sadly even contain unfortunate hatred.

With so many enemies who to eradicate or "gas" Jewry, called "Israel", Jews can't afford to hate each other.

So far, I have not found any tool to do a complex search, and proiduce comprehensive or multiple findings, with hyperlinks to every single source in context. Think carefully about this.

If Davka does it first, as they say, kol hakavod. I don't think a search engine can do it. I think a sophisticated Unicode-based PDF in Acrobat ME with embedded OpenType Biblical Hebrew fonts and special custom plug-ins can do the trick.

If one tells an exageration to cause another to strive towards good, to be a better Jew, it is not lashon hora or prohibited. Aaron, Moses' older brother set the example, as you surely know.

gohebrew's picture

The Hebrew Letters of Daled and Reish
=====================================

There are two letters in the Hebrew alphabet, daled and reish, which are similar in both design and meaning.

In the visual examples reproduced at the bottom of this post, you can see how the two letters are similar in design.

But how do we see how these two letters are similar in meaning? In the following passage from the well-known discource known as "Basi L'gani", an explanation is presented about their similarity in meaning, too:

"...daled and reish are similar not only in their form but also in their meaning.

"The letter daled is related to the word 'daloot', which means "poverty".

"In the spiritual realms, it refers to the Sefirah of Malchus, "that has nothing (d'les lah) of its own" [i.e., it merely receives and transmits the downward flow of Divine beneficence].

"In the realm of the soul, this state [of poverty] is reflected in the power of speech, that merely receives and articulates [lit., "enclothes"] the spiritual faculties that are above it.

"For example, in the expression of intellect or emotion [speech contributes nothing].

"The letter reish is similarly related to the state of poverty, as is evident from the verse that says (Proverbs 10:15): "The ruin of the poor is their poverty." Likewise, -- "[Give me neither] poverty nor riches." "

-Basi L'Gani, ch. 6 (Sichos In English)
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/basi-legani/09.htm

[Question
========

> For example, in the expression of intellect or emotion [speech contributes nothing].

I understand about emotion, that does has physical expression or feelings (internal physical reactions in the body).

But how is intellect (which are non-physical thoughts or brain waves) any different than speech (which are also non-physical words or sound waves)? Isn't intellect also "poor" like speech? ]

A picture of the Daled (left) and Reish (right).

See how they are similar in form.

gohebrew's picture

A picture of the Daled (right) and Reish (left). (above)

gohebrew's picture

I mentioned earlier about the signicance and meaning of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the aleph.

A graphic of the Hebrew letter, aleph, from the Torah Script font (the Sans version, without the "taggim", or decorative "crowns" or ornaments which appear at the top of certain Hebrew letters):

Some scholars have suggested that the aleph is Phoenician in origin, and have linked its meaning to that of the ox, suggesting that its form looks like that of an ox.

Jewish tradition, based upon earlier kabbalistic teachings, reject this view. Instead, a very different significance is attributed to the shape and design of the aleph.

Both the graphic form and meaning is explained as reflecting the very purpose of a person and his or her relationship with G-d.

gohebrew's picture

from "Letters of Light"
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/letters-of-light/02.htm

Design
======

What is an alef?

... Every aspect of the alef's construction has been Divinely designed to teach us something. Contrast this with a child learning to read English for the first time. He is never taught why a capital "A" looks like a teepee and a small "a" looks like a soap bubble stuck to a wall.

But Hebrew is different. The design of an alef is actually made up of three different letters: the letter yud or dot above; a yud or dot below; and a diagonal vav, or line suspended in between.

the letter yud

the letter vov

The yud above represents G-d, Who is above (or beyond) our comprehension. In comparison to His true essence, our understanding is a mere dot.

The yud below represents a Yid or Yehudim-Jewish people who dwell here on earth. The only way that we can grasp G-d's wisdom-to the extent that a person is capable-is by being humble. When we realize that we are but a dot or a speck compared to the All-Mighty and All-Powerful G-d, we become a vessel to receive His Divine wisdom.

The diagonal vav represents a Jew's faith-which unites him with G-d.

There is another teaching that posits that the suspended vav represents the Torah. Since the Torah is what unites a Jew and G-d, the alef represents this unity between mankind and G-d. This is the design, or form, of the alef.

We can see that every stroke of the alef (and every other letter as well) has a special purpose, and that there is much more to learning the alef-beis than just mastering its sounds.

gohebrew's picture

Gematria
========

Every letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value, known as a "gematria".

The gematria of alef is one, representing the one (or oneness of) G-d, as we say in the famous prayer: "Hear, O Israel, G-d is our L-rd, G-d is One."

gohebrew's picture

On a more complex level, we explained that the form of the alef comprises three letters: two yuds and a vav.

The gematria of the yud is ten-two yuds being twenty. A vav is six; the sum of all three totaling twenty-six.

One of the great names of G-d is the Four Letter Name Y-H-V-H (yud, hei, vov, hei), the Tetragrammaton, or Ineffable Name. The gematria of the Yud (=10), the Hei (=5), the Vav (=6) and the Hei (=5) totals 26, the same as the yud-vav-yud of the alef. Through the connection of their respective gematrios, the alef represents G-d's Ineffable Name.

CrownPomegranate's picture

> as Lott offered his daughters to appease an angry mob.

I am also troubled by this. Why did he do it? Are guests to more considered than one’s own children?

Did anyone here any explanations?

We do see that their morals must have severely compromised for them to have slept with their father later.

If they had severely compromised morals already, perhaps this was justification enough in Lott’s mind to offer them for appeasement to the angry mob outside. He figured, its nothing new to them.

Shalom GoHebrew,

I too have wondered about this.....if you don't mind a newbie just jumping right in...;o)

Avraham had 3 guest one time and in reading about it, it becomes evident Avraham realized these people were not your ordinary guest. He knew they were of G-d.

So, I am wondering if Lot also 'knew' his guess were of G-d also? If he did then I can understand his rush to protect them even at the cost of his own children???

Crown Pomegranate
www.crownpomegranate.com

Give honor and glory not to me but
to Adonai, the one true G-d,
the creator of the Heavens and the Earth

gohebrew's picture

> Avraham had 3 guest one time and in reading about it, it becomes evident Avraham realized these people were not your ordinary guest. He knew they were of G-d.

So, I am wondering if Lot also ’knew’ his guess were of G-d also? If he did then I can understand his rush to protect them even at the cost of his own children???

Crown Pomegranate,

It is unclear whether Abraham knew the true identity of his quests, as he served them both meat and dairy products, and watched them 'eat' under the tree to make sure they don't eat them together.

Since Abraham knew that angels don't require food to survive, he must have thought they were ordinary bedoins. Or he was simply playing along with their ruse.

Rashi notes that there were three angels by Abraham, but only two remained by Lott, explaining each angel only has one task. The angel, whose task was to notify Abraham and Sarah of their having a child one year later, did not remain, as he fulfilled his mission. The other two angels were for healing, and for destruction.

Your view then seems accurate, since Lott did not want to dishonor his special guests, and was even willing to offer his daughters to appease the crowd. This is very hard for us to understand, but in Lott's society anal sex was a norm, and treating guests was a special important act he learned from Abraham. In fact, the main evil of Lott's environment was the mistreatment of guests.

Is 'pomegranite' an allusion to the Talmud's praise of the rimon, pomegranite? The Talmud compares even the simplest most unlearned Jew to a pomegranite. The pomegranite is packed full of seeds like even the simplest most unlearned Jew is packed fulled of merits and good deeds, mitvahs.

Even if he or she knows very little about the 613 mitzvahs, or the details about the messiah, nevertheless G-d views him or her in a cherished way.

As we have seen throughout thousands of years of challenge, and even pain and death, at the hands of other religion's zealots, these simple Jews stay true to their faith, and reject other avodah-zarahs.

gohebrew's picture

Aziz,

> Rewording: Does Hebrew have Synonyms?
BTW: Arabic virtually has not.

Actually, Hebrew has no synonyms.

Depending upon your definition of a synonym, words which have similar meanings, in Hebrew each word is unigue in meaning.

Although the word in Hebrew for a man has four types: such as, adam, eesh, ehnosh etc. Each word is special, both in its etymology and its significance.

Adam refers to his source, being created from adamah, earth, or aleph-dam, the mixture of a G-dly soul and blood, for a person is a combination of G-dly spirit and flesh & blood. The significance of this word in particular is to the intellect, as the term adam is in reference to man's loftiest state.

Eesh, on the other hand, refers to the emotions, and not to the intellect.

So, we see that even words which seem like synonyms are very different from each other.

I think that this is due to the make up of all Hebrew word roots, where the first letter dominates its meaning, combined by the second letter which modifies it, and the third letter further pinpoints its meaning.

Therefore, since words with similar meanings are spelled differently, it follows that the deeper meaning of each word is different from another. Hence, there can be no synonyms.

AzizMostafa's picture

> as Lott offered his daughters to appease an angry mob.
I am also troubled by this. Why did he do it?
Are guests to more considered than one’s own children?
Did anyone here any explanations?

CrownPomegranate, As God's Messenger, Lott was a Reformer. So:
1. guiding people to the right path was more important to him than sacrificing his own daughters for that sake.
2. by doing that, he would leave no excuse as males+females share
what the angry mob were after.
Flowers for all Typophiles (Males+Females)

gohebrew's picture

Aziz,

> 1. guiding people to the right path was more important to him than sacrificing his own daughters for that sake.

I think the underlying assumption of this statement is the main cause of the moral turmoil.

We assume that Lott was "sacrificing his own daughters".

If we review the context, and the nature of the society, we conclude clearly that Lott was not sacrificing anything.

The reason the western mind is perturbed by Lott's conduct is because we are judging this act on our terms, with our moral standards, and in the context of our society. Then, it is Lott "sacrificing his own daughters".

AzizMostafa's picture

> I think the underlying assumption of this statement is the main cause of the moral turmoil.

Well, were the angry mob responsive to the Offer, then Lott's mission would have been half-accomplished. It was the first step in bringing them intelligently to apply reason. But since they declined to be drawn by his questioning offer, they were destroyed.

I see no difference between eastern and western minds, but to reform is to love first.

gohebrew's picture

Aziz,

> I see no difference between eastern and western minds

In that time period of Abraham, all minds were backwards; eastern and western minds did not yet exist.

All people had a set of personal man-made stone gods. People did not think of 'love first'. It was something like the Beatle song: "I me mine".

Perhaps, Lott knew that his offer would be rejected, as those who shouted to sodomize the 'male' guests would not be satisfied with the young women. So, he knew that he could offer his daughters.

Btw, in those days, guests were often sodomized, tried on false charges, and murdered. As they say, it was worst than the wild west.

====

On a different track, I was acquainted with Arab friends when I lived in Jerusalem and attended Hebrew University.

Although they enjoyed both Western culture, such as its dress and music, and endeared aspects of Eastern culture, such as its food, music, and high regard for parents and guests, these highly educated Israeli Arabs rejected aspects of Islamic culture, such as hatred towards some Jews and Americans.

They argued that they could reject that which they feel is wrong among those Jews and Americans, but they are not enpowered to hate anyone, or to condone their murder.

How do you feel about this? Were they wrong or right?

gohebrew's picture

Crown Pomegranate,

What is the significance of the three shins on top of the your name?

In general, the shin itself has three stems with a head on top of each one. Usually, they symbolize the first three fathers of the Jewish people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Jewish mystical literature, the three heads symbolize the initial three intellectual stages, called Hochmah, Binah, and Daat - conception (wisdom), analysis (understanding), and application (knowledge).

AzizMostafa's picture

>.. these highly educated Israeli Arabs rejected aspects of Islamic culture..
> Were they wrong or right?

Elaborated here:
http://www.typophile.com/node/30209#comment-175230
Reluctantly with Flowers

CrownPomegranate's picture

Shalom GoHebrew,

You said:
[Is ’pomegranite’ an allusion to the Talmud’s praise of the rimon, pomegranite? The Talmud compares even the simplest most unlearned Jew to a pomegranite. The pomegranite is packed full of seeds like even the simplest most unlearned Jew is packed fulled of merits and good deeds, mitvahs.

Even if he or she knows very little about the 613 mitzvahs, or the details about the messiah, nevertheless G-d views him or her in a cherished way.

As we have seen throughout thousands of years of challenge, and even pain and death, at the hands of other religion’s zealots, these simple Jews stay true to their faith, and reject other avodah-zarahs.]

What you shared is beautiful. I remember the fist time I opened a pomegranate. I was stuck with the beauty of the hundereds of little jewels. Little riches. Humm.

Have you ever experienced a time or a season when G-d is teaching you or showing you something and it keeps coming to mind, showing up in the oddest ways and you are so compelled to search it out? That happened to me three years ago with the pomegranate. I hope you have time for this?

I was unemployed and needed a job. Having this new found free time on my hands I was creating patterns, and doing drawings that I made cards with. One was of a pomegranate with the seeds spilling out. A friend of mine said I should go into business.

When I listen to people talk I usually visually picture what is being said. I was at shul and our Rabbi was talking about G-d. In his talk awesome messages were developing in my minds eye. He was talking about the clouds when they are full and heavy and dark and very close to earth.

Well, it is like G-d is even closer to us at those times and it can be a very intimate time with HaShem, like we are being invited in to His chambers into the private rooms of His home. (The chambers reminded me of the pomegranate again.)

Our Rabbi also shared a dream where he was fishing and the fish were so large he was scared. (He doesn’t fish.)

So the things that stood out in my mind that day were: Water…Heavy…Big…fish……door….intimacy ….room.

When I got home ‘pomegranate’ would not leave my mind and had to find out more about the pomegranate and what it meant in a Hebraic way.

First I found out how it was spelled in Hebrew: Rimmon is what I came up with online.

Then I needed to know what each of the letters meant:
Reysh – a person – the head – the highest – Literal meaning: Head of man
Mem – Liquid – massive – chaos – Literal meaning: Water there are two mems
Noon – Activity – life – Literal meaning: fish dart through the water

I knew this finding was important and G-d was showing me something…..I didn’t know quite what but my heart had picked up the pace with anticipation and feeling near to HaShem. I knew it also had to do with what the Rabbi had spoke of???

So with further study on line I found this:

1. The pomegranate is given the unique distinction of being closely linked to the House of G-d – not once, but twice. The first time is when the Tabernacle is set up under Moses’ direction in the wilderness and secondly at the building of Solomon’s Temple

When Moses is given instructions in the wilderness on how to prepare the vestments of the High Priest, he is told to decorate them with pomegranates

Then, later on, when Solomon builds the first and what most Bible scholars consider to be the most magnificent house of the L-RD ever, the pomegranate once again plays a significant role. The two main pillars at the entrance to G-d’s house, which are named Yachin and Boaz, are heavily decorated with pomegranates.

Furthermore, whenever His blessings are upon Israel, they are always manifested by fruitfulness and abundance. Our G-d is a G-d of ever expanding life and the pomegranate is the symbol He has chosen to represent this.

2. And in Song of Songs Rabbah (6:11) it is written, "Children sitting in a row studying Torah are compared to the compact kernels of a pomegranate." Thus, the pomegranate seems like the perfect adornment for the hem of the High Priest's robe. It is as though the sound of the bells would be alerting the congregation to the blessings that the pomegranate signifies.

Since the Middle Ages, this popular pomegranate design continues to be used for ornaments covering the staves on which the Torah scroll is rolled. Usually made of silver, these ornaments are called rimmonim or pomegranates, even when they have different designs, such as towers with bells. These silver rimmonim connote remembrance as well as mitzvoth, Torah, study, beauty, and fertility.

Why Frames? Because they teach us to quest for what we need. Because they serve as a trigger for us to recall what is inside. The heart of the matter is that frames create borders that we must transform into open doors.

Frames cause us to remember, just as the gold-framed stones of remembrance, upon which were engraved the names of the sons of Israel, link us to recall our continuity to the children of Israel, our ancestors, and with a sacred remembrance of our one G-d. So, too, the silver forms of the pomegranate on top of the Torah rollers serve as a memorial.

TORAH! I LOVE TORAH. This is what G-d Himself, Bless His Holy Name, was showing me! I was so excited. It wasn’t about me getting a business or anything it was about His Torah!

See our shul had been praying for a Torah for about four months……we were very small and didn’t have the funds to buy one. BUT after reading about the pomegranate I KNEW we truly were going to get our Torah! G-d was showing me.

And guess what. Within one month we did get our Torah……some people that did not go to our shul died (two of them) and somehow money was given to us because of them!

Baruch HaShem!

I will always love the pomegranate and when the opportunity came for me to really have my own business I had to have the pomegranate for a name.

Crown is a play on words as this is what the pomegranate is for the Torah. In my business I try to always point to G-d in wording and product.

I hope you are still awake!?………..;o)

Thank you for letting me share with you. I hadn’t thought of these things for awhile and this has blessed me all over again.

Crown Pomegranate
www.crownpomegranate.com

Give honor and glory not to me but
to Adonai, the one true G-d,
the creator of the Heavens and the Earth

CrownPomegranate's picture

Shalom GoHebrew,

You asked:

[What is the significance of the three shins on top of the your name?

In general, the shin itself has three stems with a head on top of each one. Usually, they symbolize the first three fathers of the Jewish people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Jewish mystical literature, the three heads symbolize the initial three intellectual stages, called Hochmah, Binah, and Daat - conception (wisdom), analysis (understanding), and application (knowledge).]

As you read in my last post…..sometimes things are important but I may not know why at the time.

See, just what you shared above gives even more light and significance to me. Thank you for that.

As you know the Shin on the mezuzah case reminds the people who they serve and who the one true G-d is. El Shaddi, G-d Almighty.

So for me I like the Shin because I think of Him and I hope it makes other think of him too.

And as a kind of visual play on words, so to speak, they look like crowns and that is the pomegranate.

Pretty much if something reminds me of G-d I like it and like to share it with others………..;o)

Crown Pomegranate
www.crownpomegranate.com

Give honor and glory not to me but
to Adonai, the one true G-d,
the creator of the Heavens and the Earth

typerror's picture

"What is an alef?

... Every aspect of the alef’s construction has been Divinely designed to teach us something. Contrast this with a child learning to read English for the first time. He is never taught why a capital “A” looks like a teepee and a small “a” looks like a soap bubble stuck to a wall."

Bless your religious hierarchy for making mystical the formation of the letter. I think though that, for lack of a better word, you are being ethnocentric.

Sadly most in the West are not interested in the genesis of the A or any other letter. It is purely a calligraphic yearning. But I have never heard the tee-pee or bubble junk. Is that something contrived by you? It is almost as if you are demeaning Latin forms to elevate your own.

As I teach children the origin of the Latin Alphabet, I explain to them it is the contortions of the East/West "ductus shift" that brought the Latin A from a "Phonecian oxen" (aleph [a pictogram]) to a Latin phonogram. There is a reason for its shape, form and stance! As substantial and significant as yours.

There are those who maintain the Latin was divinely inspired. Cut away the bottom half of the Trajan caps and find any letter that is duplicated in its top form. O and Q maybe, but put them in word text and it is obvious which they are. Minute differences differentiate letterforms. Even now with the J incorporated it has a longer serif on the left that the I, the L longer on the right... etc. Pretty G-dly in my estimation. Is that not divinity shining through?

Michael

gohebrew's picture

Michael,

On one hand, seemingly you objected to the condescending tone of the post with your "ethnocentric" observation, but judging from your interest, your overall response, and profile (your quote in particular), you seem attracted to the notion that the shape of letters and their meanings are related to the ways they are used in words. This is an idea unique to Hebrew, as far as I know.

> I've never heard the tee-pee or bubble junk. Is that something contrived by you? It is almost as if you are demeaning Latin forms to elevate your own.

Actually, I never heard them either before I read them from the book, "Letters of Light", by Rabbi Aaron Raskin, posted on the Internet at http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/letters-of-light/02.htm.

Statements about the origins and outstanding significance of the Hebrew language and its letters appear to demean Latin and other forms just to elevate the status of Hebrew. This ia shallow observation, ignoring the greater perception to behold.

Throughout history, animosity towards the Jewish people and our status as the "Chosen People" has been misconstrued for arrogance, condescendence, and an attempt to demean other peoples.

The Talmud even observes that "hatred was created at Mt. Sinai". This is a play on words between the Hebrew word for hatred, "seen'nah", and between the name of the mountain where the Torah teachings were given by G-d to the Jewish people, Sinai.

The basis of those teachings are that the role of the Jews is different than those of other peoples. The Jews are a "chosen people". Unlike the way that most people misconceive, the purpose of this title is not to degrade other non-Jewish people. Rather, the purpose is to emphasize the responsibility of Jewish people who were chosen to follow the 613 directives or mitzvahs of the Torah. Other non-Jewish peoples must follow the seven Noahide laws.

So, too, here. By stating the Divine origins of the Hebrew language and significance of its letters, the listener can either focus his or her attention positively or negatively.

Saying this is ethnocentric, arrogant, condescending, and demeaning, is negative. It misses the more important point.

Instead, one should focus upon the ideas behind what's being said, and learn from them.

Regarding the Aleph and A, the link to the form of the ox is a popular notion. Jewish tradition rejects this being the source for the Aleph. Instead, we learn that the Aleph like all other Hebrew letters is actually linked to the Yuhd, the tenth letter, as explain in that blog.

Israel

typerror's picture

I will not call him a Rabbi, Aaron Raskin, because I think he has written something divisive!

Shallow observation and an animous toward the Jew is ludicrous. You can ask William about our conversations about my upbringing.

I will be back, but for now I am celebrating my son's 10th birthday.

Michael

gohebrew's picture

> Reysh – a person – the head – the highest – Literal meaning: Head of man

Reysh is the name of the twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its gematria or numerical equivalent is 200. There are 22 letters (chaf-beit ohti'yot), plus 4 final letter forms. There are also 4 more letters which have "dotted" forms, indicating a different pronounciation. In addition, the 21st letter has a left-dotted and right-dotted form.

Reysh also alludes to the Hebrew word for head, "rosh". The rosh or head is the highest part of the human body, housing the loftiest part, the brain.

Rosh is also used in Hebrew to describe the beginning of the year, known as the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, the "head of the year" (literally).

For this reason, a great significance is attributed to the reysh, as Crown Pomegranate demonstrates.

Different designs of the reysh from various different Hebrew fonts.

gohebrew's picture

> Mem – Liquid – massive – chaos – Literal meaning: Water there are two mems

(Questions: how is mem related to massive and chaos?)

This is a novel interpretation of the Hebrew letter, mem, the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its gematria or numerical equivalent is 40.

Mem is suggestive of the Hebrew word for water, mayim, for the name of this letter, mem, has two letters, just like mayim.

This also alludes to the two kinds of water which existing when the world was created, as described briefly in the book of Genesis.

When the 'fimament' was created in the sky, the waters were separated into two parts, the upper waters above the firmament, and the lower waters below the firmament. Therefore, the word in Hebrew for waters, mayim, has two mems.

Much is discussed in Jewish mystical writings about this topic of the significance of the two mems and the relationship between the upper and lower waters.

First, there was only a single body of water, for the waters were separated later by the creation and placement in the sky of the fimament (whatever that is). As a result, the lower waters cried many tears after becoming apart from the upper waters.

Our ancient Jewish sages explain this is an analogy of a huband and a wife. They were originally a single entity, and later separated into two different bodies. Then, at the time of their wedding, they are reunited admidst great happiness, celebration, and dancing. So, too, this reoccurs each time during intimacy.

Three kinds of the letter mem, from 3 different popular Hebrew fonts.

gohebrew's picture

Isn't the shape of the mem unusual? It is unlike the shapes of the other Hebrew letters?

gohebrew's picture

Michael,

> for now I am celebrating my son’s 10th birthday.

Mazal tov! Sh'nat Hatzlachah.

The Chassidic custom is to extend good wishes at the news of a birthday with the blessing of: "Sh'nat Hatzlachah!" This means: "A year of success".

gohebrew's picture

10 is a very special number.

Many things come in ten. There are Ten Commantments which G-d articulated at Mt. Sinai. There are the Ten Utterances which G-d spoke at the creation of the world. See the Talmud's Chapters of our Fathers, 5:1-6, for more examples.

In Jewish mystical writings, all Hebrew letters originate from the yud, the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are ten powers of the soul. The Talmud reports that the study of Mishnah begins at the age of ten.

The letter yud, which equals ten in gematria, from the Hebrew font called, Torah Scipt, based upon the traditional script found in the Torah scroll.

gohebrew's picture

Michael,

Why don't you post samples of the two typeface designs that you created and names after your children?

CrownPomegranate's picture

If wishes were real, I would like to sit and read everything you know about the Hebrew letters. Your knowledge is extensive!

I find it fascinating and you know, I think the letters are elevated to a higher stature. How could a human being begin to care about letters? I never did before until I was introduced to the Hebrew letters.

The Hebrew letters are of G-d and I think they are like love letters to be read over and over again.

When I am immersed in them I find spirit elevated and I feel closer to G-d.

I have never felt that with the alpha bet. Pretty as Chinese writing is I still am not drawn to the letters like the Hebrew.

Crown Pomegranate
www.crownpomegranate.com

Give honor and glory not to me but
to Adonai, the one true G-d,
the creator of the Heavens and the Earth

gohebrew's picture

Michael,

> I will not call him a Rabbi, Aaron Raskin, because I think he has written something divisive!

A rabbi simply means 'my teacher'. If you learn something from everyone, then everyone is your teacher. For this reason, King David even called his bitter enemies, "rabbi" (Avot).

So, peace-making is not criteria to call a person, "rabbi". No one called Henry Kissinger when he tried to broker peach.

Similarly, being divisive is not criteria for annulling a person from being called "rabbi". For example, many people hold Jesus as a 'rabbi', as he learned in yeshiva and was a teacher to the masses. But his followers have murdered millions of Jewish people in his name in the past 2,000 years. Isn't this an extreme of being divisive?

R. A. Raskin killed no one with his words about the aleph. He graduated from a yeshiva with smicha, rabbinic ordination. In today's terminology, this is a "rabbi", to all opinions.

It's unlikely that Jesus had smicha.

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