A fresh look at the Hebrew Alphabet
By Larry Cohen
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I've spent the last decade, and then some, trying to figure out the meaning of the Semitic letters (not just Hebrew, but Aramaic, Arabic and others). I just released the fruit of this labor in March. Although we may not agree on the meaning of the individual letters, I'm sure you would be interested.
At the bottom of this email, you will find a link for the whole book -without charge. Here is a brief synopsis with a couple excerpts:
Saint Jerome (342-419 AD), author of the 'Vulgate', a translation of the Bible from Hebrew & Greek into Latin, said: "The most difficult and obscure of the holy books contain as many secrets as they do words, concealing many things even under each word. "
Maimonides (1135-1204 AD), a Rabbi and philosopher and one of the most influential figures in the recorded history of Jewish thought, speaking of the book of Genesis said: "We ought not to take literally that which is written in the story of creation, nor entertain the same ideas of it as are common with the vulgar. If it were otherwise, our ancient sages would not have taken so many pains to conceal the sense, and to keep before the eyes of the uninstructed the veil of allegory which conceals the truth it contains. "
Those in antiquity whom we today label 'Kabbalists' or 'Jewish mystics', considered themselves simply to be Rabbis, and these Rabbis did not perceive their scripture in a literal way. For example, Rabbi Azriel of Gerona (1160 - 1238 AD): "Just as in the body of a man there are limbs and joints, just as some organs of the body are more, others less, vital, so it seems to be with the Torah. To one who does not understand their hidden meaning, certain sections and verses of the Torah seem fit to be thrown into the fire; but to one who has gained insight into their true meaning they seem essential components of the Torah. Consequently, to omit so much as one letter or point from the Torah is like removing some part of a perfect edifice. Thence it also follows that in respect of its divine character no essential distinction can be drawn between the section of Genesis 36, setting forth the generations of Esau [a seemingly superfluous passage], and the Ten Commandments, for it is all one whole and one edifice. "
The product of over a decade of research, The Infinite And The Alephbet posits that each letter in the common Semitic alphabet(Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic & others) represents something fundamental, such as motion, resistance, or life.
Semitic scripture(Old Testament, New testament, Qur'an & others) is thus imbued with a layer of meaning below the surface - a sort of 'science' of the fundamental nature of things, intertwined with the surface narrative - the stories that we are familiar with.
For example, in my theory, the letter NOON represents living entities where they are generally bound.
Here is a list of the names of many distinct external living body parts of the human body:
ZAIN-QOAF-NOON: Beard (chin)
GIMEL-RAISH-NOON: Throat, neck
HKET-TSADY-NOON: Bosom, arms, lap
BAIT-TET-NOON: Belly, womb
QOAF-TET-NOON: Little finger
BAIT-HAY-NOON: Thumb, big toe
What are the odds that so many end with the same letter?
Now let's consider kings David and Solomon.
The name 'David' is spelled DALET-VAWV-DALET. Other words with the same or similar arrangement of letters mean: 'love', 'beloved', 'amiable' etc...
The name of one of David's sons, Solomon, who goes on to become king after David, is spelled SHEEN-LAMED-MEM-HAY. Other words with the SHEEN-LAMED-MEM combination mean: 'peace', 'rest', 'safety' etc...
You may be familiar with the Hebrew greeting 'Shalom', the Aramaic greeting 'Shlomo', and the Arabic greeting 'Salam' which all mean 'peace'; and the terms 'Muslim' and 'Islam' which are also based on the same combination of letters.
And so, 'Love' gives birth to 'Peace', and after Peace dies, the kingdom just so happens to become divided.
David's first appearance in 1-Samuel 16:12 : And he sent, and brought him (David) in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. 16:21 : And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.
The outset of Solomon's reign described in 1-Kings 4:24 : For hehad dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsaheven to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.
And then, once the kingdom is divided after Solomon dies, Rehoboamrules the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, and Jeroboam rules the rest of the tribes. Rehoboam has a son named Abijam and Jeroboam has a son named Abijah.
Rehoboam = RAISH-HKET-BAIT-OYIN-MEM
Jeroboam = YUHD-RAISH-BAIT-OYIN-MEM
Abijam = ALEF-BAIT-YUHD-MEM
Abijah = ALEF-BAIT-YUHD-HAY
This book has nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code, where the characters of the bible are treated as actual historical figures.
And this book has nothing to do with the 'Bible codes', which treats the Bible as one big crossword puzzle.
Instead, the core idea of this book is that there are two narratives brilliantly interwoven in Semitic scripture (Old Testament, New Testament, Qur'an & others). There is a narrative of finite things, and there is a narrative of things found throughout the infinite.
The narrative of the finite includes mythology, allegory, parables, riddles, prohibitions, commandments etc. - concerning finite things, with words that refer to finite things with which we are familiar such as mountains, kings, battles, cities, chariots, houses, people, etc. This is the story of Semitic scripture that we are familiar with.
The narrative of the infinite is embedded within this narrative of the finite, in the letters of the same words.
Abraham bar Hiyya (1065 - 1136 AD): "Every letter and every word in every section of the Torah have a deep root in wisdom and contain a mystery from among the mysteries of understanding, the depths of which we cannot penetrate..."
One last example:
The letter ALEF represents the space between entities separate from each other. It is the open, the void, etc...
The letter YUHD represents the structure between entities bound to one another or somehow maintaining static direct contact between one another. It is the fabric, the glue, the matter, etc...
The letter TET is the coming together, combining, joining, binding, bonding, placing together, etc...
The letter TSADY is the breaking free, the splitting, separating, parting, expulsion, releasing, etc...
Now, here is a list of words with the two-letter combination ALEF-TET:
ALEF-TET-MEM: To close, shut, stop. Narrowness.
ALEF-TET-YUHD-MEM: Closed, dense, forced. Thickness. Being full.
ALEF-TET-RAISH: To shut in.
ALEF-TET-YUHD-PHAY: Folded material / object.
ALEF-TET-DALET: Bramble, thorns, thorn bush. (that which grabs onto you as you encounter it)
ALEF-TET-VAWV-NOON: Linen. (yarn, thread: that which you use to bind)
LAMED-ALEF-TET: To cover. Softly.
ALEF-TET: Gently, softly. Secret.
Out of the 8 unique words in the old testament which have the ALEF-TET combination in it, 7 are listed in this table. What are the odds that 7/8 give the impression of things 'joining', 'covering', 'shutting in', etc...?
To demonstrate that this is no coincidence, let us now reverse our attention to the antithesis of ALEF-TET, with the combination TSADY-ALEF:
YUHD-TSADY-ALEF: To go out, go forth, go from, come out, come from, proceed out, proceed from, depart. Go away, escape, get out. Bring, carry, fetch. Grow, issue forth, beget.
TSADY-ALEF-HAY: Filth, excrement.
TSADY-ALEF-TSADY-ALEF: Offspring. Things that come from the earth.
MEM-TSADY-ALEF: Water spring, flower bud. Goings forth, the bringing out of. To find, bring out to, get, deliver, present unto. To befall to, come out unto, come upon, to meet, to receive.
BAIT-TSADY-ALEF: Fissure, rending open.
PHAY-TSADY-ALEF: Piece, portion, lot. (as broken up)
NOON-TSADY-ALEF: To flee.
RAISH-TSADY-ALEF: To run.
TAWV-TSADY-ALEF: That which goes out of a border.
Out of the 9 words in the old testament which have the TSADY-ALEF combination in it, 7 are listed in this table. What are the odds that 7/9 give the impression of 'separating', 'splitting', 'moving away', etc. . . ?
The book is available in its entirety, without charge, on the web.
Right after the section entitled 'Baalam's donkey', you will find a link for the required fonts for the page - which are also entirely free (available for MAC or PC).
The introduction is straightforward, and is only about a half-hour of reading. If you like what you see, could you do me a huge favor: pass the word on.
Thank you kindly.
AHRC Book Recommendation
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