A deeper look at the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet can reveal endless insights into how God created the world and man, showing how the Hebrew language is imbued with layers of meaning which have deep Biblical implications.
Like every language in the world, Hebrew consists of words made up of individual letters. However, what is unique about Hebrew is that each letter has its own individual meaning, its own numerical value and its shape is often made up of other Hebrew letters in order to create additional depths of understanding.
“Just a quick study of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, reaps layers of insights into how God created the world,” Roni Segal, the academic adviser for eTeacher, an online language academy, told Breaking Israel News.
“When someone studies Hebrew, much more than their mouth and mind get stimulated. Their soul gets invigorated.”
The Sages teach that in Isaiah 7:11 when the prophet states to the wicked King Achaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights”, he is referring to the Hebrew letters. In Hebrew, אות [ote] means a sign and a letter. It also means wonder.
“The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is אלף [aleph]. When one reverses those letters, it spells פלא [peh-ley] which means wonder,” continued Segal. “Just like magic, moving around the letters of words written in Hebrew creates a new reality. In fact, that is where the word abracadabra comes from. Abracadabra is Hebrew for, ‘I create as I speak.’”
The shape of the letter aleph is also significant. It consists of an upper letter yud י, a lower letter yud and the letter vav ו in the middle connecting them.
The upper yud represents God, as it is the first letter of one of God’s names י-ה-ו-ה [yud hay vav hay] and is reaching for the heavens. The lower yud represents the Jewish people, called יהודים [Yeh-hoo-deem] in Hebrew.
When vav is written, it means “and”. It is a connector. Therefore, the diagonal vav is uniting the Jewish people with God as represented by the aleph.
Every Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent in Biblical numerology, called Gematria. The Gematria of aleph is one and stands for the oneness of God, as is said everyday in the prayer, “Hear, O Israel, God is our Lord, God is One.”
Additionally, this Gematria also relates to the aleph and connects God to His oneness. As mentioned, aleph is made up of two yuds and a vav. The gematria of yud is ten. So, the gematria of the upper yud plus the lower yud equals twenty. The gematria of vav is six. The value of these three letters which make up the shape of aleph is 26.
God’s י-ה-ו-ה name also equals 26. Yud=10, hay=5, vav=6 and hay=5. Even numerically, we are shown that God is one.
More so, in Hebrew, a master, general or chief is called אלוף [ah-loof]. The roots of this word lie in the letter aleph and remind us that our general and chief is the Master of the Universe, God Himself.
An intriguing thought is gleaned from the word אדם [ah-dahm], which means man. Again, the א [aleph] stands for God. דם [dahm] means blood. This symbolizes that a person is only flesh and blood unless they bring God into their lives.
The great Jewish scholar known as the Alter Rebbe teaches that including the aleph in our lives, meaning God, will usher in the era of the Messiah. He points out that the only difference between the words exile, גולה [goh-lah], and redemption, גאולה [geh-ooh-lah], is the presence of the letter aleph. When aleph (God) is placed into our lives in exile, we bring the redemption.
Segal pointed out to Breaking Israel News that the Hebrew word for truth is אֶמֶת [eh-met]. “Truth starts with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph, and ends with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, tuf. Hebrew is a fascinating language which, when studied properly, reveals deep truths and heavenly wisdom.”