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A is for Aleph


P Aleph

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Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, or aleph-beisIt is my favorite Hebrew letter for the same reasons I like the number eleven; the way it looks, and sound of its name. It is pronounced AH-lef and is a silent letter.

Coincidentally, the German word for eleven is elf, which is, as you can see, similar in sound to Aleph. Lynette, of wordtabulous fame, pointed that out to me the other day. Thanks, Lynette!

Aleph has a unique story, as do all the letters of the aleph-beis. This letter symbolizes the One-ness and infinity of the Omnipotent G-d. Even its name, Aleph, which is derived from the Hebrew word Aluph, (master) alludes to the Divine attributes of G-d.

The Aleph has the numerical value (gematria) of one. It is said that one day, G-d Himself spoke to the Aleph and appointed it king of the Aleph-Beis: “You are one, I am One, and the Torah is one.” G-d then promised that the Aleph would be the first letter of the first word of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:2)

What I find interesting is that by changing just one vowel sound, Aleph becomes Eleph, which means one thousand. Each of the letters in the Aleph-Beis has a lesson for us. Aleph’s is suggested above, (the Aleph-Eleph example) in that we shouldn’t hesitate to take on seemingly monumental tasks, as small accomplishments eventually lead to major achievements.

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10 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Aleph is such a strong yet lovely shape. I don’t know anything about math, well, not much but I know what I find pleasing to the eye.

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  2. Thank you for the mention! And, Aleph is beautiful. I am both intrigued and intimidated by Non-Latin alphabets.

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    • You are most welcome :-). I am fascinated with non-Latin alphabets, although the Eastern Asian ones are too much for me.

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    • Cansu says:

      In your 4 helpful prcniiples (not principals), number 4 mentions that the adjective comes before the noun and goes on to further explain that this is different to English.In English we too put the adjective, for the most part, before the noun. E.g. using the following sentence:The yellow spade (English) adjective beforeDie gelbe Spaten (German) adjective beforeAn spe1d bued (Irish) adjective afterLa vanga giallo (Italain) adjective after

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  3. yearstricken says:

    This is really interesting, Susan. The letter itself is beautiful.

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  4. the urban misanthropist says:

    Aleph numbers in set theory are also used to denote the cardinality of infinite sets, a really interesting bit of maths…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_null#Aleph-naught

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