Hebrew Alphabet

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The Hebrew alphabet is a set of 22 letters used for writing the Hebrew language. It is has also been used in mildly adapted forms for writing several languages of the Jewish diaspora, most famously Yiddish, Ladino, and Judaeo-Arabic.

Template:Hebrew

Hebrew speakers call their alphabet the aleph-beth (the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet). The number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, their order, their names, and their phonetic values are virtually identical to those of the Aramaic alphabet, as both Hebrews and Arameans borrowed the Phoenician alphabet for their uses during the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

The modern script used for writing Hebrew (usually called the Jewish script by scholars, and also traditionally known as the square script, or the Assyrian script), evolved during the 3rd century BC from the Aramaic script, which was used by Jews for writing Hebrew since the 6th century BC. Prior to that, Hebrew was written using the old Hebrew script, which evolved during the 9th century BC from the Phoenician script.

Description

Both the old Hebrew script and the modern Jewish script have only one case, and some letters have special final forms used only at the end of a word. The Hebrew alphabet is an abjad: vowels are normally not indicated. Where they are it is because a weak consonant such as א aleph̄, ה he, ו vau, or י yod has combined with a previous vowel and become silent or by imitation of such cases in spelling of other forms.

To preserve the proper vowel sounds, scholars developed several different sets of diacritic symbols (points or נקדות nikkud). These points are normally used only for special purposes, such as Biblical books intended for study, in poetry, or when teaching the language to children. The Tiberian system also includes a set of cantillation marks used to indicate how scriptural passages should be chanted, and decorative "crowns" used only for Torah scrolls.

Hebrew letters may also be used as numbers. This use of letters as numbers is used in Qabalah) in a practice known as gematria.

Individual letters

The following list shows the name of the hebrew letter along with its key scale on the Tree of Life as recorded in Liber 777 by Aleister Crowley. The descriptions of the letters are also based on the teachings of Crowley.

11 Alephletter: א = A or E | name: אלף "Ox" | value: 1

  • Aleph in shape is similar to the Swastika, a glyph of primeval motion, the whirling Chaos coming into being. It is also in the shape of a plough-share, taking on the dual meaning of Phallic "plowing" and sexual innocence.

12 Bethletter: ב = B | name: בית "House" | value: 2

  • Beth is the House or dwelling place of Man in the world of duality and illusion.

13 Gimelletter: ג‎ = G | name: גמל‎ "Camel" | value: 3

  • The camel as "The Ship of the Desert" is appropriate on this path, since it connects Kether and Tiphareth, travelling through the wilderness of the Abyss to do so.

14 Dalethletter: ד‎ = D | name: דלת‎ "Door" | value: 4

  • The shape of Daleth suggests the porch of a doorway or tent-flap, inviting the traveller to cross into the Supernals (Kether, Chokmah, & Binah). Daleth is the path leading from Chokmah to Binah, uniting the Father with the Mother.

15 letter: ה‎ = H | name: הה "Window" | value: 5

  • Hé is the window that allows the Light to reach us.

16 Vauletter: ו‎ = U, V, W or O | name: וו‎‎ "Nail" | value: 6

  • Vau is a phallic glyph, symbolizing creative reality and the magical will. Vau is also "The Son" of the Tetragrammaton, represented by Bacchus, Jesus, or Parsival the King-Priest.

17 Zainletter: ז = Z | name: זין "Sword" | value: 7

  • Zain is ...

18 Chethletter: ח = Ch (hard) | name: חית "Fence" | value: 8

  • Cheth is ...

19 Tethletter: ט = T | name: טית "Serpent" | value: 9

  • Teth is ...

20 Yodletter: י = I, E or Y | name: יוד‎‎‎ "Hand" | value: 10

  • Yod is ...

21 Kaphletter: ך כ = K | name: כף "Palm" | value: 20, 500-final

  • Kaph is ...

22 Lamedletter: ל = L | name: למד‎ "Ox Goad" | value: 30

  • Lamed is ...

23 Memletter: ם מ = M | name: מים "Water" | value: 40, 600-final

  • Mem is ...

24 Nunletter: ן נ = N | name: נון "Fish" | value: 50, 700-final

  • Nun is ...

25 Samekhletter: ס = S | name: סמך "Prop" | value: 60

  • Samekh is ...

26 Ayinletter: ע = O | name: עין "Eye" | value: 70

  • Ayin is ...

27 letter: ף פ = P | name: פה "Mouth" | value: 80, 800-final

  • Pé is ...

28 Tzaddiletter: ץ‎ צ = Ts or Tz | name: צדי "Fish-hook" | value: 90, 900-final

  • Tzaddi is ...

29 Qophletter: ק = Q (soft) | name: קיף "Back of Head" | value: 100

  • Qoph is ...

30 Reshletter: ר‎ = R | name: ריש‎ "Head" | value: 200

  • Resh is ...

31 Shinletter: ש = Sh | name: שין "Tooth" | value: 300

  • Shin is ...

32 Tauletter: ת = Th (soft) | name: תו "Cross" | value: 400

  • Tau is ...

See also

References

  • Crowley, Aleister. (1981). The Book of Thoth. New York, S. Weiser.
  • ____. (1982). 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
  • Wikipedia. (2005). Hebrew Alphabet. Retrieved 04/12/2005.

Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.