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August 04, 1989 - Image 41

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-04

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SYNAGOGUES

Scholar Shows Ordered System,
Patterns In Biblical Hebrew

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

Features Editor

U

nlike any other
language, biblical He-
brew is a perfectly
ordered system full of in-
tricacies, patterns and mean-
ing, according to Dr. Tzvi In-
bal, a biblical scholar and
Hebrew expert.
Inbal, co-founder of the
Arachim Organization of
Israel, which is dedicated to
intellectual analyses and
teaching of Jewish tradition,
spoke last week on "Hebrew:
The Language of Creation" at
Machon I2Torah. He began by
comparing letter patterns in
biblical Hebrew with those in
English.
The letters P and R appear
in the words pair and pear
and pier and peer, all of which
have nothing to do with each
other, he said.
Yet Hebrew words beginn-
ing with the letters peh and
resh, for example, all share
the concept of starting at a
central core and moving out
or breaking up. He gave as ex-
amples the Hebrew word
meaning "to spread," spelled
peh-resh-ayin; the word
meaning "to break into
pieces," spelled peh-resh-kuf;
and the word meaning an ex-
panding city, spelled
peh-resh-zayin.
Similarly, the same letters
in the word Torah can be
found in the Hebrew words for
pregnancy and first rain. In-
bal said the Thrall nourishes
the soul much as the way the
first rain brings to life a bar-
ren earth.
Inbal also said the Hebrew
letters themselves have
meanings. "Each letter is like
an atom," he said. "Combine
them different ways and you
get different formulas."
The meanings of these let-
ters are derived from such
sources as esoteric wisdom,
including the Zohar, the
mystical writings of Judaism;
the oral tradition, such as the
Talmud; and the word mean-
ing of the letter.
Unlike English, where the
name of the letter means
nothing, the names of Hebrew
letters are also words. Aleph
means both the letter and the
word for hidden or spiritual;
vav is both a letter and the
word for connection; tav is
both a letter and the word for
sign.
These three letters — aleph,
vav, tav — combined spell the
Hebrew word "letter."
Inbal cited the word ozen,

ear. He arrived at one possi-
ble meaning of the letters in
the word by going through
the Torah.
The first letter in the word
ozen is aleph; the first word in
the Torah beginning with the
letter aleph is Elokim, God.
The second letter in the word
ozen is zayin; the first word in
the Ibrah beginning with the
letter zayin is zen, or nourish.
The last letter in the word
ozen is nun; the first word in
the Ibrah beginning with the
letter nun is nefesh, soul.
Put these together, Inbal
said, and one comes up with
the phrase "God nourishes
the soul." It is through listen-
ing that one learns the word
of God, Inbal said.
He also discussed the
Hebrew word emet, truth.
The word begins with the let-
ter aleph, the first word of the

alphabet; the middle letter is
mem, also the letter in the
middle of the alphabet; and
the last letter is tav, the last
letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
He noted the phrase one
must take when testifying in
court — namely, "to state the
truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth." So too
God is emet, the whole and
complete truth, he said.

Inbal also noted that aleph
and mem form the word em,
mother, while the middle and
last letters, mem and tet,
form the word death.
Thus dissected, the word
emet, truth, encompasses
man from beginning to end,
Inbal said. He comes from his
mother and is going to his
death. That which encom-
passes all is emet, the
ultimate truth, God.

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sion documentary, "Profiles
and Performances."
The Walter Litt Memorial
Music Concert is sponsored by
the Litt family in memory of
Walter Litt.
Planning the event are
Bea Mondry, chairman of
the cultural commission;
Charlotte Thssler, program
chairman; and members of
the Litt family including
Regina Litt, Marion Schul-
man, Norma Harwood and
Ray Litt.
The community is invited.
There is no charge. For ticket
information, call the
synagogue office, 851-6880.

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The cultural commission of
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Hillel Moses will present the
Walter Litt Memorial Music
Concert featuring concert
pianist Peter Simon 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 at the synagogue.
A native of Denver, Colo.,
Simon began his musical
education at the age of six. He
served as artist in residence
at the University of Tulsa and
received awards in four piano
competitions.
In addition to his perform-
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tensively on contemporary
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memorate the fast day of
Tisha B'Av.
At 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, a
minchah service will be held,
followed by Ma'ariv. Cantor
Larry Vieder, along with
adult and teen members of
the congregation, will chant
the Book of Eikha (Lamenta-
tions). Appropriate passages
will be read emphasizing the
theme of the evening. Readers
of the Book of Eikha will be:
Rabbi Efry Spectre, Cantor
Vieder, Asher Tilchin, Saul
Rose, Sidney Feldman, Mara
Leichtman, Jason Bieder-

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Oak-Woods Has
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Young Israel of Oak-Woods
will hold a Lunch and Learn
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

41

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