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.

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.

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.

John Hudson's picture

I think this line of discussion is off-topic, so don't encourage response. But this comment from Israel S. seemed to require comment:

or to show people that they prefer to remain Jewish, like the Jews of the Holocaust

Since the Nazi definition of Jewishness was racial rather than religious or cultural, there was no option for Jews to be anything other than Jewish. There was no issue of 'remaining Jewish' because the Nazis saw no possibility that a Jew could cease to be a Jew. The Nazis were not offering a choice between death and conversion; they were only offering death.

gohebrew's picture


> And soldiers of Lebanon go to hell if killed in defense of Lebanon.

We have never discussed the status of people in an after-life who harm Jews in this world.

First, regarding your inerence which assumes hell is an option.

Remember, in Judaism, unlike most religions that define hell as a form of eternal punishment, hell is not a form of eternal punishment. Rather, it is a cleansing process for the soul, to prepare it for heaven, gan eden, a termporal place too for spiritual reward for the non-physical soul.

Heaven is only a temporary holding place until after the end of days, when the body is revived, or resorrected in a new form. Then, the soul returns to the body, and in many cases lives forever.

About going to hell or heaven, I merely said that people who sacrifice their lives in protect Jews receive a special reward and avoid hell.

We see going to hell is a step to going to hell. Not everyone earns this merit.

Some people are reincarnated in non-human bodies, a rather painful experience. Some people get even worse, such as becoming migrant souls without even physical bodies, like bodies of objects, vegetables, stones, minerals, dirt, and sand - or nothing physical at all.

This is similar to the comment of a friend of mine, who learned this, and said: "It's a zechus (merit) to go to hell".

The famous great commentator, Rabbi Solomon Yitchaki of the Middle Ages, known by the acronym of his name, Rashi, commented on the ill intend some nomads harbored towards him, that they earned Divine retribution from G-d for merely thinking to harm him.

Also, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out a simple law in Shulchan (the Codes of Jewish Law) regarding the neighbors bordering Israel who seek to merely steal wheat, as subject of a strong defence, including murder. The justification for this extreme reaction is that if stealing was planned, murder was intended. The defense to those who seek to kill, is to kill them first.

From these statements, it is clear that the Hezzbolah terrorists, like other terrorists, have sealed there own fate by seeking and even actually harming or killing Jews.

This is the harse reality of harming or killing a Jew.

gohebrew's picture

> And the Jewish sages also said “the righteous of all nations will have a place in the world to come.”

There is no free lunch for anyone.

This means that no one is barred from entering into the world to come. The world to come is not an exclusive country club. G-d made room there for everyone, but everyone doesn't make it there.

gohebrew's picture


> I didn’t make such a conclusion.

Sorry. I misunderstood you.

I asked you a key question about OpenType/MS VOLT at the blog on OT Biblical Hebrew about CSUB & multiple diacritic glyphs. Do you prefer me to email you in private?

Regarding adding a CSUB/CMOS feature like for the furtuve patach, for the shvana etc., this Sabbath was a breakthrough. I am certain now it can be done successfully. Let's discuss it.

gohebrew's picture


> Since the Nazi definition of Jewishness was racial...

Like Jews during the threat before the miracle of Purim, the Holocaust left little choices. That's why we wear purple shoes on Purim today. :)

When I posted it, I considered this.

Sadly, the Nazis did bring out the worst in the Jews by appointing 'capos' in concentration camps, and made them believe that by harming other Jews, they could receive favors, like a slice of dried bread.

So, a choice was presented: Die as a Jew, or maybe have it better by becoming a traitor.

gohebrew's picture

> He is a member of a small sect and doesn’t speak for the rest of us.

The Chabad Lubavitch worldwide movement is hardly a small sect. Perhaps, 25 years ago, you could say this and be truthful. Today, the Chabad Lubavitch world movement is growing at a huge pace, while the other mainstream organisations are shrinking. They know it.

No intelligent Jewish leader would make this statement.

gohebrew's picture

> Rabbi Akiva (1st to 2nd century) said of God’s judgment that “all is according to the majority of [a person’s] deeds.”

I don't see the relevance here. What are you trying to say?

The Talmud discusses the status of people who do wrong things in part, but most things are good things. So, Rabbi Akiva concludes that one's bad things are not considered here, rather the majority of ones acts are what counts.

gohebrew's picture

> I say let us not presume to say what God will do, and just try to do right in our own lives.

Boy, what a liberal Jewish ting to say!

Aziz is not asking what you say. He want to know G-d's words, what the Torah says.

Call a spade a spade.

In an Arab country, a liberal non-Observant Jew would be beheaded as an infidel to Islam.

gohebrew's picture

> Chabad is one among many threads in the Jewish fabric

Soon, it will be Rosh Hashana and all the very different holidays of the first Hebrew month of the year, Tishrei.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe decribed the varied holidays as colorful. There is the accepting G-d as our king during Rosh Hashana, the remorse of Tzom Gedaliah, the fasting and repentance of Yom Kippur, the sanctity of G-ht's Tug, the happpiness of Sukkot, the special qualities of Shmini Atzeret, and the joyful celebration and unbridled exurberance of Simchat Torah.

Just like a work of art can not be monotone, explains the Rebbe, the Jewish people are colorful, with different color threads fabric of the Jewish people.

gohebrew's picture

> my words were neither untrue...

Overview of the Composition of Jewry on Earth

Jews are divided into two categhories: affiliated and unaffiliated.

Although they are one one people, Jews are different from each other, like every human being is unigue.

There are however differences and groups.

The largest categhory are unaffiliated Jews. If you add up the membership of all groups of affiliated Jews, there are much more unaffiliated Jews.

Among the largest group of affiliated Jews in number in the United States are Reform Jewry. Second are Conservative Jews. In an embarassing third spot are the Orthodoxy.

Outside of America, be it South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Orient, both the Reform and Conservative are very very small, barely significant.

I am reminded of a secular Israeli's comment why he went to an observant synagogue in Israel on Yom Kippur, when he himself was not observant. Why didn't he just drive to then lone Reform temple in Israel? He replied that if he went to the synagogue once a year, he wanted to get it right.

So, in Israel, like in most places of the world, unaffiliated Jews perceive "real" Judaism as the beliefs of those follow in the ways of Torah. The rest is just compromise, or even worst, fake.

Among so-called Orthodoxy, there are many sects, larger and smaller in number, but divided differently in terms of signacance and influence.

Quantity versus quality.

In general, these Jews are divided into the Chassidic Jews (the followers of the Baal Shem Tov), and non-Chassidic Jews. In the last twoi hundred years, the Chassidim are becoming a dominant force in Judaism, and the other groups, whether non-Chassidic, or even non-Orthodox, are dwindling in size.

With the next fifty or 100 years, with the factors of assimilation, population growth, and increased communication, only the group of Chassidic Jews will remain among the affiliated, and the unaffiliated will decrease or assimilate.

That's the harshe reality, William.

Among Chassidic Jews, everyone are followers of the holy Baal Shem Tov. They are divided into two branches: the intellectual of ChaBaD (now only the Lubavitchers remain), and ChaGaT, the other groups of Chassidic Jews.

What does ChaBaD and ChaGaT mean, how are they different?

There are ten spheres in the Divine chemestry of everything created by G-d. They are:

1. Chochmah - literally, wisdom; or the first and highest sphere. Like the human body has intellectual parts in the brain, and emotive parts in the rest of the body (modern science says everthing is located in the brain), in the intellectual process, chochmah is the initial stage of the intellect, conception of an idea.

2. Binah - literally, understanding; or the second and decisive sphere. In the intellectual process, binah is the next stage of the intellect, the break-down and analysis of an idea.

3. Daat - literally, knowledge; or the last and most important sphere. In the intellectual process, daat is the next stage of the intellect, the practical application of an idea.

Chabad then is symbolized by this acronym of the three parts of the intellectual process.

ChaGaT is an acronym for the next three spheres, the first three parts of the emotions.

Basically, they represent two valid manners to live life as G-d desires.

The Chabad way is much more difficult and demanding than Chagat in terms of living life practically. Chabad however is much richer, more rewarding, and has the ability to become integrated into unaffiliated Jewish society, not be influenced (to the amazement of other Orthodox Jews), and rather make amazing inroads.

Thousands of unaffiliated Jews have joined the ranks of Chabad in the last few decades. Chabad Houses have sprung up around the globe in greater number recently, than even during the lifetime of their leader. Chabad is at fore front of disseminating knowledge of Judaism at, even among non-Jews.

It is not without exaggeration to claim that if we consider the huge numbers of "Friens of Lubavitch" (which now number many hundreds of thousands, including heads of state, unaffiliated Jews, and a growing part of the masses), Chabad is most dynamic force in Judaism today.

As the first Lubavitcher Rebbe prophezed in the days of the Vilna Gaon: "Yad hachassidim al haelyona". In the end, the Chassidim will prevail!

AzizMostafa's picture

> In an Arab country, a liberal non-Observant Jew
> would be beheaded as an infidel to Islam.

On the contrary and historically, Jews were+are taken top consultants
by Arab Rulers. Read well ((Repeating: Read well) then answer.

Additionally, the beheading of our prophet Mohammed's grandson
— Hosyan — and 72 of his companions (shrine above) and
the driving of the captives — their women + children —
in a caravan across the desert from Karbala to Damascus/Syria
was carried out by Yazid's army but planned by Yazid's Jew
consultant, SirJohn. Yazid like his father+ most past+present
Arab self-appointing rulers ruled + ruling in the name of Islam.

And histroy repetas itself: we are eye-witnessing non-stop
visits by Jews-supporters to Siniora of Lebanon + Abbas of PLO,
and Maliki of Iraq and Mobarak of Eygpt + others.

So, GoHebrew, do you want us to forget history?
Or to wipe out the shrines of Prophet Mohamed's grandsons from Iraq?
Do you want us to take refuge in democracy?
Or to embrace what you embrace?

gohebrew's picture


I actually agree with you in part.

The golden age (the Western mind calls it "golden") occurred when the Arabs controlled much of the world, and employed Jews as their scribes, artists, doctors, poets, and financiers, because of the high regard they considered them, despite they did not adhere to Islam.

I myself viewed the unparalled tremendous repect Arab-Americans treated Orthodox bearded Jews.

In fact, when the boy, Ari Halberstam was shot and killed by a mad Arab-American in 1992 on the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, prompting then-Mayor Guiliani to issue a rewrd for his arrest, another Arab-American from Queens turned him in. He explained, "I only did what any decent human being would. To shoot and kill a boy from a religious school who was visiting his dying rabbi - of course, he should be imprisoned."

The point that I waa trying to make was that an irreligious Jew is perceived as just that, and would be treated like any other infidel in a religious Arab society. He or she can espouse the noblest ideals, but if they appear just like a goy, a star-worshipper, then they will be treated like one.

gohebrew's picture


> the beheading of our prophet Mohammed’s grandson...was planned by Yazid’s Jew consultant, SirJohn.

This very hard to believe.

It sounds like the stuff that fumed blood libels in Europe and Russia, or Christianity's old claim that the Jews killed Jesus (which many Christians still believe today).

I think Nachmonides once showed how this is clearly a lie. Judaism rejects doing anything directly or indirectly to kill another human being. Such action is prohibited. No Observant Jew would risk his or her heavenly reward to commit such a crime. To commit such a crime also evokes eternal punishment.

Until relatively recently, all Jews were observant of the teachings of Torah. Nobody second-guessed G-d. Only since the Reform movement in Germany, or the Maskilim in the Age of Enlightenment in Poland and Russia, did Jews begin to rationalize either avoiding to G-d's instructions in the Torah, or violate His prohibitions.

The old joke is the Reform rabbi in Berlin liked eating pork so much that he justified it by creating his own form of Judaism.

People say that the great Talmud scholar and composer of a very popular lexicon, Marcus, used to smoke a pipe on the Sabbath, while studying Talmud, even though smoking is prohibited on the Sabbath for Jews.

Even his name, Sir John, does not sound Jewish.

AzizMostafa's picture

1st: .. Ari Halberstam was shot and killed by a mad Arab-American in 1992 on the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

In which Arab country? And across which river?!

2nd: SirJohn (or serjown) not Sir John.

3rd: Ok, you did not kill Prophet Jesus
and you never fought against Mohammed?!

1. Why did your grandfathers not believe in Prophet Jesus + Bible?
2. Why did your grandfathers not believe in Prophet Mohammed + Quran?
3. Why were they so selective in following God Messengers?
4. Why did you take Moses as the seal of the Prophets?
5. Are the Jews chosen by God to rule the World?
6. What is BlackWater + other Jews-controlled companies doing in Iraq?

gohebrew's picture


> 1. Why did your grandfathers not believe in Prophet Jesus + Bible?

This question has been asked repeatedly for nearly two thousand years. It has been articulately addressed completely by scholars to whom by comparison I am less than a toenail.

Nachmonides was challenged to a debate by great Catholic scholars in Spain(?)regarding this very topic. He answered each question more than convincingly and decisively. In fact, hehad to flee his own country to save his life, because the very people he argued against saught to kill cf for his brilliant answers.

Unfortunately, his debates are not published in English. So, I will briefly answer.

Jesus the Jew, the student of Rabbi Yossi's yeshiva, the person who grew up like every "frum" Jewish boy, wearing tzitzis, a kippah, eating only kosher food, washing negel vasser, was rejected as the messiah, then, in the past 2000 years, and to this very day, and forever.

Why was Jesus rejected as the long awaited messiah?

To be qualified to the messiah in potential, according to Judaism, the person must meet specific qualifications. He did not meet any of them.

1. He has to be a descendant of King David. It is unclear who Jesus' father was.

2. He has to be a great Torah scholar, like King David before him. Jesus abandoned his studies in yeshiva, losing out on possibility of great scholarship.

3. He must encourage all humanity to come closer to G-d: Jews to observe Judaism, non-Jews to accept and practice the Seven Noahide rules expected from them by G-d. Jesus has brought strife among peoples, and led many generations of his followers to murder Jews, Muslims, and opponants to Christianity.

4. He shall build the 3rd Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the Jews will have a place to worship and serv G-d, and the non-Jews will be able to have a direct relationship with G-d. Jesus failed to end the Roman occupation, and even was hung on the cross by the Romans.

5. He will usher in a time of universal peace and brotherhood among mankind. Jesus caused people to hate each other. His followers claim that by believing in him, they are then absolved of their sins. In effect, people become further and further from G-d by hinking that it's OK to sin.

There is not a single compelling reason to accept Jesus.

gohebrew's picture


> 1st: .. Ari Halberstam was shot and killed by a mad Arab-American in 1992 on the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.

> In which Arab country? And across which river?!

No, he was an American lunatic from Queens, Brooklyn. It was the East river, between Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was very late at night. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was rushed to the hospital in Manhattan from his office in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in a white van.

The Arab-American went too to the hospital in Manhattan to see which kind of car he was driven in. He saught to kill this powerful leader of the Jews. When a similar white van departed, he raced to his car and followed the van to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Entering the bridge, the crazy Arab-American saw it was filled with young religious students, and became furious for being deceived. He realized that G-d led him away from hius intended target. So, he drove up beside the van, shotting everybody in sight. Most of the boys ducked down, but the driver, another lad, and Ari was struck.

The other two boys recovered in full, one of them miraculously came out of a coma. Ari died.

AzizMostafa's picture

> To be qualified to the messiah in potential, according to Judaism,
the person must meet specific qualifications.
He did not meet any of them.

Very amazing, Like Moses, Jesus was chosen by God.
Judaism should have no say in that.
Or did you grandfathers want to teach God who to choose???!!!

And the Jew was killed in US not in an Arab Country as you said earlier.

gohebrew's picture


> 2. Why did your grandfathers not believe in Prophet Mohammed + Quran?

The very fact that great Muslim scholars and kings for centuries have accepted Jews for the way they are makes this question somewhat superfluous.

The very great Torah scholar, scientist, and physician, rules that Islam is an acceptable faith for non-Jews, but warns that Catholicism is not. The reason for this is simple. Everybody must believe in the Creator of heaven and earth as One Invisible G-d, unable to be divided into parts, such as the concept of the divinity. According to Judaism, harboring such a belief is a trangression for anyone.

Does this answer your question?

AzizMostafa's picture

So, you do not believe in Mohammed + Quran.
How do you want to make me understand the Quran as you want??!!
Are you better well-versed in Arabic+Quran than Nasrollah?!
Peace with Flowers

gohebrew's picture


> Like Moses, Jesus was chosen by God.
Judaism should have no say in that.
Or did you grandfathers want to teach God who to choose???!!!

Every person is chosen by G-d to fulfill a special task, a purpose unigue to that person.

Maimonides wrote that the purpose of Jesus' acceptance as the messiah to over a third of the world's population was in order to bring that part of the world to a greater understand about a messiah, and to cause the acceptance of messiah when he actually comes.

Agan, the definition of 'who is he messiah' is not in our hands, in a popularity poal; rather, it is soly a Torah concept. And the Torah is from G-d.

gohebrew's picture


> not in an Arab Country as you said earlier

I did not say this.

gohebrew's picture


> Are you better well-versed in Arabic+Quran than Nasrollah?!

Any logical person understands basic human values better than Nasrallah, who has no regard for human life. He twists the teachings of Quran to serve his needs. He distorts the truth to serve his lies. Even if he knows Arabic is no indication that he understand Quran or speaks the truth. Soon, his falehood will become apparent to you.

AzizMostafa's picture

> Every person is chosen by G-d to fulfill a special task,
a purpose unigue to that person.

Every person is chosen, including Nasrollah?
And you are also chosen to counter Nasrollah?

If so, then God chooses a Man and his enemy?!
What a Just God have you taken?!

gohebrew's picture


> So, you do not believe in Mohammed + Quran.

You are saying this.

A Jew believe in G-d. He believe that the Torah is true. We have our prophets. They do not include Jesus, Mohammed, Nasrallah, Geoge Bush, or Bob Dylan.

If you ask me personally, each of them are important and influential as human beings. But, as a Jew, I don't make a religion around them.

With all great respect to you as a believing Muslim, who studies the Quran, and seeks the truth.

Nasrallah is not the truth; he is falsehood.

gohebrew's picture


> Every person is chosen, including Nasrollah?


gohebrew's picture


> Every person is chosen, including Nasrollah?


AzizMostafa's picture

The game is over.
Peace with Flowers

gohebrew's picture


> If so, then God chooses a Man and his enemy?!
What a Just God have you taken?!

This reminds me of our father Abraham's question when G-d wanted to destroy the evil people of Sedom. Abraham pointed out to G-d that there righteous people living there too. If G-d would destroy Sedom, righteous people would die, too. This would be unjust.

So Abraham asked G-d: "Shall not the Judge of the entire would carry out justice?"


Btw, what game?

CrownPomegranate's picture

Shalom GoHebrew,

You said:

I have heard that Jesus, (Yeshua) never broke the Torah. I like knowing the truth about things, so I had to research this and this is what I found:

"Dietary laws" is NOT what Yeshua chastised "them" = P'rushim
("Pharisees") and Torah-teachers ("teachers of the Law") for.
In context of Chapter 7 of Mark, the first 7 verses are
important - JNT (David H. Stern):

(1) The P'rushim and some of the Torah-teachers who had
come from Yerushalayim gathered together with Yeshua
(2) and saw that some of his talmidim ("disciples") ate with
ritually unclean hands, that is, without doing n'tilat-yadayim
("ritual handwashing"). (3) ( For the P'rushim, and indeed
all the Judeans, holding fast to the Tradition of the Elders,
do not eat unless they have given their hands a ceremonial
washing. (4) Also, when they come from the marketplace
they do not eat unless they have rinsed their hands up to
the wrist; and they adhere to many other traditions, such
as washing cups, pots, and bronze vessels.)

(5) The P'rushim and the Torah-teachers asked him, "Why
don't your talmidim live in accordance with the Tradition of
the Elders, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?"
(6) Yeshua answered them, "Yesha'yahu ("Isaiah") was right
when he prophesied about you hypocrites - as it is written,

"These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far away from me.
(7) Their worship of me is useless, because they teach
man-made rules as if they were doctrines." (Isaiah 29:13)

Obviously, Yeshua's talmidim did not violate kosher laws
since the P'rushim and Torah-teachers would have mentioned
that. The discussion was concerning the Oral Tradition in
relation to n'tilat-yadayim.

Yeshua is chastising the P'rushim and Torah-teachers for
strict adherence to the Oral Torah and misunderstanding the
priority of Torah over tradition ("laws of men").

Here is some of Stern's commentary on Mk 7:19 wherein there
is a parenthetical comment "Thus he declared all foods ritually
clean" ( "food" to a Torah-observing Jew is not equivalent to
food in today's world obviously; it is what is allowed to be
eaten for a Torah-abiding person):

"Thus he declared all foods ritually clean", even if the
participants at the meal have not washed their hands. But
Yeshua did not, as many suppose, abrogate the laws of
kashrut and thus declare ham kosher! Since the beginning of
the chapter the subject has been ritual purity as taught by
the Oral Torah in relation to n'tilat-yadayim (vv.2-4) and not
kashrut at all! There is not the slightest hint anywhere that
foods in this verse can be anything other than what the
Bible allows Jews to eat, in other words, kosher foods.
Neither is kashrut abolished in Ac 10:9-28 or Ga 2:11-16; see
notes there.

Rather, Yeshua is continuing his discussion in spiritual
prioritizing (v.11). He teaches that tohar (purity) is not
primarily ritual or physical, but spiritual (vv.14-23). On this
ground he does not entirely overrule the Pharisaic/rabbinic
elaborations of the laws of purity, but he does demote them to
subsidiary importance. See Jn 7:22-23 on the halakhic process
of assigning ranks to potentially conflicting laws. Yeshua here
is making a Messianic halakhah.

Crown Pomegranate

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

Crown Pomegranate,

I really don't want to discuss Jesus' life with anyone.

It is clear that as a Christian your view and my view differ a great deal regarding Jesus' status, role, and stature.

Plus, we live in a benevolent Christian land (although the founding father clearly desired it to be home for all peoples), so I think it unwise to argue the host's faith. Rather, the Jewish attitude is both national pride and patriotism, and to respect adversity.

To clarify one point that you made though, about the status of the Oral Tradition in normative Judaism, now, then, and since Mt. Sinai (and from even earlier), is that all Jews share one single view. The Torah is one, the writings of the Hebrew explanations, the Oral Tradition, later recorded in the Talmud, Medrash, Kabbalistic books, and elsewhere.

Jews do not pick and choose, what parts they accept and believe in, or what parts are too difficult for them to observe, or even accept.

Those who reject parts of the Torah, such as the Oral Tradition are not considered Jews. Thw Karraites are an example of this. (Jesus was not a Karraite.)

Even Conservative and Reform Jews, who reject parts of Halacha in everyday practice, or concepts that they feel are no longer applicable, are not considered rejected or not Jewish. A Jew is always a Jew. Rather, they fall under the heading in Jewish law, known as "tinuk sh'nishba", a Jewish child who abducted and raised non-Jewish. This explains why his or her attitude is not in compliance with the teachings of Torah.

So, no one today opposes Torah anymore. We see that even Muslim and Christians are moving closer to improvement of relationships, limited acceptance, and much greater cooperation.

I truly believe that the more a person learns about the beauty of Judaism, the more they seek to come closer to G-d, and life in accord with the lifestyle that the Torah teaches, be in the life of Torah and mitzvahs, or the Noahide laws.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, just checking over this thread I see you aren't aware of the translation of Nachmanides' account of his disputation with Catholics in the middle ages. There is a wonderful account, including translation, by Hyam Maccoby.

Maccoby also in my opinion has done the best Jewish historical analysis of Christianity from an historical point of view, in his books such as Revolution in Judea and The Mythmaker.

Maccoby also did an excellent play based on Nachmanides' account, called "The Disputation." I saw a wonderful performance of it here in DC starring Theordore Bikel as Nachmanides.

gohebrew's picture


Thank you for bringing this to my attention, your comments, and the link.

I kinda suspected a translation was out there by now, but I think today, people know so little about Yiddishkeit, even most Orthodox Jews, that there is little meaning to a debate. There are no sides anymore.

As we learn more about true Yiddiskeit, opposition falls away, and the desire for observance increases.

But Ramban's (Nachmonides) debate is famous for its brilliance; so thanks you for this link to Amazon - I do want to add it to my list of "gotta read" books.

Was my overview of the Jewish world today accurate?

William Berkson's picture

Israel, your overview I'm assuming is an accurate view of the Jewish world from a Chabad point of view. Probably every non-Haredi Jew would disagree with it, and give a different view. I certainly would give a different overview, but here is not the place to go into all this. You can read my views on Judaism at

Also I would just note that neglecting or rejecting parts of Jewish tradition is very different from adopting views that are clearly heretical to Judaism, eg. the Trinity. Even within the Chabad framework I think you can recognize that.

gohebrew's picture


Did I neglect or reject any part of Jewish tradition?

Are you aware of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's purposted view of Reform Judaism?

He said: "I would not be opposed to Reform Judaism [based on the halacha of "hora'at sh'ah", one is permitted to render a ruling in opposed to Shulchan Orech for a given time period due to the prevailing circumstances]; I am opposed to Reform Judaism, becayse they claim that this form of Judaism replaces the Orthodox approach, and is now only valid."

CrownPomegranate's picture

[I really don’t want to discuss Jesus’ life with anyone.]

I will honor this.

[It is clear that as a Christian]

I am not this.

[I truly believe that the more a person learns about the beauty of Judaism, the more they seek to come closer to G-d, and life in accord with the lifestyle that the Torah teaches, be in the life of Torah and mitzvahs, or the Noahide laws.]

I beleive this.

I am wondering if you can help me?
I am looking for a Hebrew font. One that is pretty or feminine, but still easy to read. (HF Hameiri is close, but the bottom lines on some the letters are to long and it is harder for me to read.) Do you know where I might download this type of font?

Also I have about 16-20 HF Hebrew fonts that all of a sudden are all in mirror image. I have had them for a few years and have used them. But now in MS they are all backwards. The only way I can use them is to open them in another type program and save what I am writing as a JEPG. Then if I insert the JEPG I can flip the image and read them. But this is a pain.

Any idea what happened?

Crown Pomegranate

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

Crown Pomegranate,

> I am not this. [...a Christian] ...I believe this.

So, you are Jewish, but believe in Jesus? This is called a messianic Jew (but some mj-s are not Jewish, but simply like to imagine that they are Jewish. Maybe, a father was Jewish, or a great-grandparent, or they just "feel" Jewish.

Nowadays, messianic Jews are not rejected from mainstream Judaism, as every Jew is regarded as "having been kidnapped by non-Jews as a child, and not raised as a Jew educated in his religion, culture, and among his people." (Maimonides, Mishna Torah, Laws of Mamerim).

We are instructed to draw them closer to the teachings of Torah, like the students of Aaron, and perhaps, as a result of this kindly approach, traditional Judaism will be accepted.

I originally was raised as a Reform Jew, and knew very little about traditional Judaism, except that one day the messiah would appear, and encourage everyone to become much better people, gentiles would become exceedingly good people, and ordinary Jews would know their heritage well, and conduct their lives according to the teachings of the Torah.

A very good friend of mine became a messianic Jew. I became troubled, and approached Lubavitcher chassidic Jews to learn hoow best to encourage my friend to return to his senses, and his people.

Instead of guiding me as to what to do, I was presented with some compelling logic. I was asked, "how could I convince my friend to return to Judaism when I knew so little myself?" I was encouraged to leave college, and go to a yeshiva and study. I did, and the rest is history.

gohebrew's picture


> Also I have about 16-20 HF Hebrew mirror image...this is a pain.

These are known as "mirror fonts", made to use in Quark XPress. I innovated this approach to Hebrew fonts in the early ninties on the Apple Macintosh, when Quark was not yet popular.

Quark allowed the user to flip the text box. Then, Hebrew text could be entered from left to right, but it would look like right to left, as long as you used mirror fonts. The idea was stolen, as were many Hebrew fonts hacked, flipped in Fontographer and sold by pirates or given away.

I decided to only serve the high end and professional publishers, as there was no income in the low end of everyday users, such as teachers and students.

gohebrew's picture


You get what you pay for. If you want freeware, most is junk. Stolen is better, but there are some designer's kids that won't drink chocolate milk on Saturday because of you.

If you profess that honor and glory is G-d's, then don't you believe G-d will compensate you a hundred bucks to do what's honest?

Enough preaching.

Consider "Itamar" (designed by the late Itamar David) in the Hebrew Type Designs blog. Maybe, "David Italic". Or "Koren", also known as "Crown". "Diamonds" is a very feminine script.

I really don't know what is freeware out there on the Internet. In general, if you buy, make sure the fonts have Unicode. Old cheap Hebrew fonts don't have them, and you might have a surrize later to use them in a Unicode compliant program (most are these days).

gohebrew's picture

The meaning of the "aleph"

The Lubavitchwer Rebbe explains that the alef has three different meanings. One is aluf, which means a master or a chief. The second is ulfana, a school of learning or teacher. The third meaning is reached by reading the letters of the word backwards-pela (pronounced peleh)-wondrous.

Aluf's definition is "master." This lets the world know that there is a Creator; that G-d is the Master of the universe, and that there is an Eye that sees, and an Ear that hears. The universe did not simply emerge by itself; there is an omnipotent Force that actually forged the firmaments ex nihilo, from nothing to something. Thus G-d is the Aluf, the Master of the universe.

Ulfana means "school" or "teacher." Not only do we introduce G-d as the Creator of the universe, but also as the Teacher of all mankind. G-d's role as teacher is revealed with His introduction of Torah to the Jewish people. The Torah, with its 613 mitzvos or laws, teaches us what we should do, and what we shouldn't do. Through the Divine wisdom of His book, G-d establishes Himself in the world on the level of the ultimate Teacher.

Finally, we have the third meaning of alef: peleh, "wondrous." Peleh represents the esoteric or mystical level of Torah-Kabbalah and the teachings of Chassidic thought. Known as the "teachings of Mashiach," these secrets of Torah comprise its greatest level.

from the book, "Letters of Light", by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin

gohebrew's picture


The Baal Shem Tov once entered Mashiach's heavenly chamber and asked, "Mashiach, when are you going to come?"

Mashiach responded, "When the wellsprings of your teachings (i.e., the teachings of Chassidus) spread forth throughout the entire world."

Thus, only when the level of peleh-this level of wondrous esoteric thought-has permeated the world, will the arrival of Mashiach be imminent.

This can also be connected to a fundamental concept in the Talmud.

The Talmud tells us that G-d created the world to exist for 6,000 years. The first two thousand years are called Tohu, or chaos. This is followed by two thousand years of Torah. And the final two thousand are the days of Mashiach.

gohebrew's picture


What does this mean?

Rashi explains that the first two thousand years began with the first man, Adam.

This corresponds to the first meaning of the letter alef: aluf-master-for the Midrash states that Adam caused all the animals and beasts to bow down to G-d, thus acknowledging Him as Master and Creator of the universe. However, that era was qualified as chaos, because the Torah was not yet revealed.

gohebrew's picture


The second two thousand years, Rashi continues, began with Abraham.

Abraham introduced the Torah. As the Talmud states,[26] Abraham both learned and fulfilled the entire Torah long before it was physically given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. His embracing of G-d's word inaugurated the era of Torah-and thus the second meaning of the word alef-ulfana, or teaching.

gohebrew's picture


The final two-thousand-year period is considered the days of Mashiach; the concept of peleh.

This wondrous era has the potential to usher in peace and tranquility throughout the entire world. Here, at this final level of alef, a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov illuminates an interesting point.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady suggests that the difference between the words golah (exile) and geulah (redemption), is the presence of the alef.

If one inserts an alef into the word golah/exile, exile is empowered and transformed into geulah/redemption).

Thus the final two thousand years of Creation, the era of Mashiach, is represented by the alef. Having been given the alef, the Jewish people are empowered to move from exile to redemption.

The stages of G-d as Master of the universe and as Teacher blossom into the days of Mashiach, when G-d will be revealed on a wondrous level. All of this is contained in the letter alef.

from the book, “Letters of Light”, by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin

gohebrew's picture


> You can read my views on Judaism at

Where? I looked. Under which topic?

William Berkson's picture

Re: Just scroll down. My current post is on "The Idol of Autonomy". If you click on my name and then scroll down you will get all my previous posts. This is a critique of the current state of Reform Judaism, and ideas on how to strengthen it. Most of my posts so far are critique, with the constructive part to come.

CrownPomegranate's picture

Thank you GoHebrew for the info on the fonts.

I do not mind paying for fonts at all. My favorite is SIL Ezra and I paid for this one. The others I found using a search engine looking for Hebrew Fonts. When I found the HF ones it was a pack and it said free..........I thought they were. I didn't know until your post they were stolen. I would not have downloaded them had I known...;o(

I am going to go check out the others that you mentioned. Thanks.

My Grandma's Dad on my Moms side of the family came from Germany with his brother. Their last name was Volk, meaning The People.

When they came to the states he changed it to Folk, (still the people) to 'blend' in and be more American. Him and his brother had a bitter fight because of the name change and they parted ways forever.

Other than the name change they never talked about life before America. So I was raised just like anyone living here. I was not a people that lived apart and separated for G-d.

I am now.

I am learning what I should have known all my life. There is sadness from missing the wonderful beauty of HaShem’s ways as I grew up and yet I am blessed because as an adult I greatly value every nuance of what He is showing me.

Crown Pomegranate

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


If you liked the SIL, perhaps you'll like John Hudson's SBL-Hebrew font. It's for free, for non-commercial users. It's advanced OpenType. I have a sample posted on the lower part of the blog called "Hebrew Type Designs". Also, check out "David".

Gaining a religious lifestyle later in life helps us contrast the alternative. Many times, aerson appreciates something he or she has after realizing what it's like not to have it.

It's sad that your great-grandfather parted ways with his brother. Are you in contact with his descendants, your cousins?

As you may know, Judaism defines a Jewish person by maternal descent or a valid halachic conversion. To be designated Jewish, your maternal ascent must be born Jewish, or converted according to halacha. That means, your mom, her mom, and her mom. Three generations. If that is certain, then you are certainly Jewish.

If, however, your dad was Jewish, but not your mom, or your maternal grandfather but not his wife, or your maternal grandmother's dad but not her mom, then you are not Jewish in your soul, but you have a lot of "blood" and genes that are Jewish.

Unlike many other religions, Judaism allots great significance to non-Jews who conduct their lives according to what's known as the Seven Noahide Laws, including eternal reward. In fact, to a certain degree, it is of greater significance to be a Noahide than to be Jewish in that the messiah can not arrive until non-Jews have a choice to become Noahides, just as G-d did not give the Jewish people the Torah until Jethro, Moses' non-Jewish father-in-law converted to Judaism.

peter bilak's picture

Sorry, this is completely unrelated.

If David Hamuel is reading this, would you mind getting in touch with me at (peter_at_typotheque_com).
I tried sending you an email, but bounces back.

Peter Bilak

david h's picture

BTW, Israel....

with nikud we don't use the vav e.g -- ulpana; we don't say ulfana, since the peh is with dagesh; the same thing with geulah -- and there you need to add 2 dageshim; golah - 1 dagesh.

gohebrew's picture


About the intentional neglect of use of the vov (and the yud) in words which have nikkud is certainly the custom in most modern Hebrew text. In Jewish liturgy, from the booklet on Birkat Hamazon, the grace after meals, to the Siddur, the traditional prayerbook, inclusion of the vov (shuruk, or holam) always appear.

The exceptions, as I understand it, in intentional, to teach an important lesson, as in Biblical literature.

Regarding the dagesh in the peh of ulfana, the author did not place this either. I figured that perhaps in Aramaic, a dagesh does not appear here. So, I did not include it.

As the original text was all in English, I was unsure if the word ended in a hei oran aleph.

Regarding the dagesh in the gimmel of geula, you might be right. Although you know, most dagesh is missing in modern Hebrew with nikkud, except for the beit, kaf, peh, and taf. The dagesh in other letters is merely grammatical.

Syndicate content Syndicate content