Newsletter 3-25-15 - St. Paul Catholic School

the language bazaar
magic
letters
the meanings of the Hebrew letters in
Hebrew language & Jewish thought
This edition first published 2010 (v.1)
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction,
in whole or in part, in any form.
published by
the Language Bazaar
at San Diego CA
Zev bar-Lev, founder/director
It is permitted to reproduce individual “key letter” pages for distribution in a
synagogue or study group. (The initial pages are for the rabbi or group leader,
to explain as needed.) The condition for such distribution is a commitment to
send feedback on them, answering the following questions:
1. Did the audience understand, enjoy, and learn from, key-letters?
2. Did they encounter any problems? What specifically were they?
Please send this feedback to: [email protected] Type the subject
“FEEDBACK ON MAGLETS” in all capital letters.
language
bazaar
page
2
:magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
i
Can you do it?
The “heart” of this booklet is the “magic letter pages,”
which can be used as handouts for individual or group
study.
They are most easily used in order (but can also be used out of order).
This page and the next explain how to use them.
It uses short phrases from the Bible and Prayer-book, such as
you might see in any synagogue. You don’t have to sound out
the Hebrew: If you don’t know any Hebrew, you will be led
into it slowly, letter by letter.
Each short phrase in Hebrew spelling is accompanied by:
1. a transliteration (that is, a spelling using English letters instead of Hebrew letters);
2. a translation (that is, the meaning, expressed in English).
p
h„føm diå∫º ‘h iπy-leå
al- i ados˙em be-yad mos˙e˙*
by the _____ of Gd, by the hand of Moses
Hebrew spelling
“transliteration” (the sound in English letters)
“translation” (the meaning)
*
a
o
If you try to “sound out” the transliteration, you will likely have a little trouble, as you might have with
Spanish or French. But you would likely be understood by a Hebrew speaker. FOR REFERENCE:
mama
no, no≠te
e
u
jet
guru, bØt
So adonây “the Lord” rhymes with “my” or “nigh.”
language
bazaar
i
ây
ski, s´
eye-ball
preface page
ii
a sample (from key-letter page 1)
in the header box, a picture and association is given
for the letter and its sound
also, the letter’s meaning is given, with an interpretation of
the form of the letter hinting at this meaning
It is pronounced p
as in “pirate”
As a “magic letter,”
It means
“OPEN UP”
p means open up. It includes the words for “mouth” and
“face.” Do you see the connection between these sub-meanings?
key-letter meaning
spelling of word or root
open up
xtp
-np
-p
pata˙˙
pne¶
pe˙
open
a face
mouth
sound of word or root
meaning
HEBREW PHRASE:
h„føm diå∫º ‘h iπy-leå
Hebrew spelling
1
p
al- i ados˙em be-yad mos˙e˙
by the _____ of Gd, by the hand of Moses
transliteration
meaning
The vowels in the Hebrew words, and even endings and more, often
vary form context to context. This feature of Hebrew may seem scary,
but in fact it will make your Hebrew study easier, especially if you focus
on key-letters—and meaning!
language
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
iii
Who is it for?
You may be interested in magic letters, if:
1.
2.
3.
4.
you don’t like “feeling like a child” when studying Hebrew;
you don’t like meaningless “bah-bah-goo-goo” methods;
you are interested at getting out the soul of Judaism;
you want to comprehend the Bible and Prayer-book in the
original.
N O ABILITY WITH GRAMMAR OR FOREIGN LANGUAGE IS
ASSUMED. JUST A WILLINGNESS TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!
It’s not recommended for children in its present form (but they can
appreciate the insights here, too).
Judaism knows the fate of a new idea:
1.
2.
3.
4.
language
First, they ignore it;
then they mock it;
then they criticize it as irrelevant if not harmful;
and then, all of a sudden, it is the most obvious truth in the whole world,
so much so that it is “trite.”
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
iv
language & thought
The “ancient” American linguist Benjamin Whorf (in the 1920’s-30’s) argued that a people’s
language influences or even determines their thought. He claimed that European languages like
English are noun-based and “thing-oriented,” whereas many other languages (including Hebrew)
are verb-based and “process-oriented.” Some aspects of his claim have been refuted by
subsequenct linguistics.
But one can trace, in language and thought, the unique ways that each language connects
concepts with each other. Each “language-culture complex” has its own unique configuration of
central concepts.
So, for example, Japanese zen and the sensei are very different from the
chutzpah and rabbi of Judaism.
abundance & order.
One well-known example is the concept of “peace.” In English and other European languages, it
is understood as the “absence of war”: This is virtually a dictionary definition. (We may begin to
see a certain irony, probably unintended, when people use the expression Pax Romana, “Roman
peace,” the “orderliness” of the Roman Empire.)
But in Hebrew, shalom means not the absence of war, but rather “wholeness, wellbeing,” from shalem “whole.” (Compare refuah shlemah “[I wish you] complete healing!” So
when we ask Mah shlomkhem? “What is your peace?” we mean “What is your wellbeing?”—not “How orderly are you?” And when teachers do hishtalmut, they become “better
rounded, more complete” in their profession—not “quieter, more orderly.”
These connections are seen far beyond the one root shalem “complete”: Lots of Hebrew
words beginning with the letter shin refer to ABUNDANCE and JOY.
ebw
xmw
rw
Nmw
epw
htw
Kpw
sated, “full”
happy
sing
oil
abundance
drink
pour
It is true that words for orderliness as such also begin with this letter:
rew
wrw
Nkw
bw
ebw
Mw
jpw
gate, lesson
root
reside
sit, settle
oath
put; name
judge
But of course it is the connection between the two concepts that is important. Further, all of the
individual words and roots listed here have many well-established further connections
throughout Hebrew language and thought.
language
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
v
initial consonants as key letters
preface page
What evidence is there that initial consonants have such importance? For Hebrew,
the evidence is found in how pervasively we find them to be meaningful, as in the
seeming “coincidences” shown here—and how helpful these connections can be,
even in practical language learning. And there is further, indirect evidence in their
pervasiveness in other languages. In English, for example, they are nowhere near as pervasive as
in Hebrew, but some of them exist—to an extent that might even be useful for foreign learners.
Hebrew vs. English p/b.
In English, p and b are the two clearest “key” consonants: Their primary meanings are “poke”
and “bump.” respectively. Some examples:
POKE ,
poker, pivot, prod, probe, prow, pine, pike, prong, pitch, picket,
pillar, peak, pyramid, pinnacle, perch, pedestal, pyre, pierce, pinch, plant,
plug, peck, prickly, prick, punch, pain, pity, patient, pathetic, penetrate,
perish, persecute, poignant, plea, plead, pounce, pound, prod, pick, press,
peel, pull, push, put, puff, pant-V,
BUMP, bulge, bloat, bunch, bloat, bend, bow-V, bounce,
build, brick, board, bake, burp, boom, bowel, bulk, blot, blotch, bother,
bog, blotter, blog, bubble, balloon, ball, blimp, blob, bosom, big, bus, bold,
bonfire, button, billiards, bulb, billow, bumper, bulldozer, buffer, baggy,
buffalo, buff, blunt, burlap, berm, bread, butter, basket, bucket, box, beef,
beer, bean, bath, bathroom, bottle, bag, baggage, bowl, box
point, period, pixel, paint, picture, pill, pebble,
pellet, particle, pea, pimple, pock, pox, penny,
pimiento, pearl, penis, pecker, pollen, pin, pen,
pole, pipe, post, paddle, peg
booth, battery, base, boat, body, back, brain,
buttocks, butt, “bum” (Br.), bottom, breast, bustN, bosom, boobs, belly, bloomers, breeches,
briefs, blemish, blood, brow, bucktooth, brush,
beard, blister, booger, bunion, boot, booster,
bonus, bead, blip, bullet, bee, bug, bird,
Is a bean so different from a pea, big and round instead of pointed? Is bread necessarily big and round?
Not in reality, but their names suggest a recognition of these features (at least as potentials) in the mind of
the speaker. The more important point here is that these many examples suggest a reality of English, one
which might even be useful for the learner of English. For example, the first time you heard the word
berm, you might well have been helped by subconscious knowledge of the meaning of b.
In Hebrew, the relationships are more pervasive across the whole vocabulary, as you will
see here. But, for example, p and b have different meanings. Their primary meanings are “open”
and “split,” respectively.
“Open” is also the basis for “mouth,” and “face” as both noun and verb, as well as
various words for surprise: “a wonder, surprise, suddenly, elephant, fear”, and also
“redemption,” including the two holidays Purim and Pesahh “Passover.”
death.
In English, death is associated with all sorts of words for going “down.” “Down” is a universal
metaphor, apparently, for anything negative.
DOWN,
drop, drip, dig, drill, dredge, drag, draw, deep, deep, dip, doom,
destroy, drain, deplete, damp, dew, drink, drunk, drown, dribble,
drizzle, douche, dye, descend, dangle, drivel, dizzy, drug, dwindle,
dwarf, drape, dress, drawers, dull, drab, dumb, dunce, dark, deny,
delay, detour, difficult, dike, ditch, divide, divorce, discard, distant,
dirty, dung, diaper, diarrhea, demon, dastardly, deviant, disappear,
distract,
language
bazaar
DIE,
dead, deaf, disaster, danger, depress, dry,
drought, December, defeat, depressed, desert, devil,
diabetes, disease, dirt, disgrace, dislike, “diss”, “dish”,
distress, disturb, doubt, dread, dissolve, dissipate,
disorder, dynamite, damage, decapitate, damn,
decadent, derelict, dope, donkey, dog, duck, doll,
demented, docile
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
vi
In Hebrew, dying (met) is related to roots for being “pulled,” in effect “pulled off stage,”
including the words for “erase, wipe out.” Here’s a taste of some of the deeper and more
interesting relationships to be seen below involving other letters:
jutting out & authority.
In Hebrew, “jutting out” (expressed by the sound tz—the letter c) is an important, generally
positive concept. It is found in etz “tree” (as in “tree of life”), and also tzadiq “righteous” and
tzivah, mitzvah (“command, -ment”).
separation … & building.
Separation is an extremely important concept in Judaism. It’s the subject of the Saturday evening
prayers (havdalah: barukh hamavdil “blessed be He who separates”) and of the beginning of
Creation (bereshi bara) in the Bible (vayavdel bén or uvén hhoshekh. The v in the word hivdil,
havdalah, vayavdel “separate” is a second pronunciation of the letter b. There is no meaning
difference between the two pronunciations. So bén and uvén, both meaning “between,” reinforce
the importance of the concept of SEPARATION.
So what else is interesting, to bring us to key-letters? Most obviously, there is bahhar
banu “He chose us” (i.e. separated us), and baqa’ yam “split the sea.”
Then there is also: brakhah “blessing,” baser “to bring good news” and the related root
basar “meat” (and also baqar and behemah “cattle”).
But more widely, b is also the foundation of creation (bara’ above, which is also the root
for “health” bari’) and building (banah) and house (bayit) and even most members of the
household: “father, son, daughter, slave, master, husband.” (“Mother” em, interestingly enough,
is the family “puller,” the “king” of the family: cf. mellekh “king.”) There are also many verbs:
“visit, come, love, work/serve,” and others with key letter b. Not to mention the very important
prefix b- “in.”
enlightenment … & stretch.
Words for enlightenment are, not surprisingly, important and pervasive in Judaism. It is often not
known that Torah means not “law” but ‘teaching”; it is related to moreh “teacher.” Other related
roots (not related in mainstream Hebrew “triliteral” root-theory or grammar): or “light” (be-or
panekha nir’eh or “in the light of your face, we see the light”: note the r in “see”) and ner (ner
shel shabat “sabbath candle”), not to mention rabi “rabbi” and rofe’ “doctor” and even roqe’ahh
“pharmacist.”
But you’ll see later that the basic meaning of r is “stretching out,” as in “wide, long,
distant, high” (and “street, country, city, mountain”), as well as, more indirectly: “run, pursue,
pilgrimage/foot/leg.”
These examples are a foretaste of the many more
relationships that you will see below, based on key letters in
Hebrew, in words and phrases from Bible and Prayer-book.
language
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
vii
key letters in kabala
The idea that individual letters have their own meanings is not new to Hebrew language.
In fact, it is a familiar and widespread assumption.
Its sources are found in the literature that is known as “kabala” (kabbalah,
qabbalah, hlbq) although this literature was not specially named as kabala or anything
else until centuries later; nor was it outside of the scope of Hebrew grammar.
The first reference to letters as meaningful is apparently found in the commentary
on the first work of kabala, the seffer yetzira or “Book of Creation” by Saadiya Gaon, the
first Hebrew grammarian.
The Zohar goes a lot further with its “alphabet parade,” expressing why the letter b
was chosen to be the first letter of the Torah, along the way commenting on the meanings
of individual letters, and thus initiating a large literature of insights and books on the
“meanings of the letters.”
Originally, Hebrew grammar recognized roots of different lengths, including
biliteral and even uniliteral. In the 12th-13th Centuries, “triliteral” root-theory became
dominant, unfortunately ejecting other insights from “Hebrew grammar” and relegating
them to “mysticism.”
Nevertheless, Gesenius’ first European dictionary of Hebrew did connect the
meanings of the noun tib “house” and the propositional prefix —b “in.” In later editions
this connection was omitted, perhaps because Gesenius realized how many different
kinds of such relationships exist in Hebrew.
Many scholars and students of Hebrew have written on these connections. Biliteral
roots remain a subject of continual interest even in Hebrew linguistics; for example, the
semantic similarities between roots that begin -rp: hrp, xrp, drp, jrp, Krp, Crp, qrp, rrp,
„rp, ∑rp “fruitful, flower, separate, detail, crush, break through, break up, crumble,
separate, spread out.” But why stop at this biliteral insight? Why not include xtp, xqp,
hp, hnp, Cup, rzp etc. (“open, open one’s eyes, mouth, turn to, scatter, disperse”)?
Similarly, -rk is a convincing biliteral root meaning “round,” as in rk, r¨k, brk,
rkk, rkrk “pillow, furnace, cabbage, traffic circle, dance.” So is -sk “cover, contain” in
hsk, sok, isk, asik; and -lk “include, contain” in llk, luk, blk, alk “contain, all, cage,
jail.” But then all three of these can be brought into a single “uniliteral” root -k “scoop
up.”
There are connections that go beyond key-letter theory, such as diå “hand” and dcå
“side,” or hih “be” and hix “live.” But such connections are individual and idiosyncratic.
They do not offer the same sweeping inclusiveness as key-letter theory, which can
actually make the understanding of deeper meanings in Hebrew literature, and the
learning of Hebrew vocabulary far more accesible. In fact, it offers a greater
simplification over (triliteral) root theory than root theory offers over traditional word-byword vocabulary learning.
language
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
viii
How does it all work?
What is important about key-letters?
1. They express interesting connections, according to “Hebrew thought”;
2. They offer a “magic key” to the meanings of Hebrew roots and words.
The “core” of the booklet is the key-letter
pages (starting on page 1), which can be given
out individually in synagogues or shared in a
study-group, in the context of study of Bible and
Prayers. You are welcome to photo-copy them
one at a time, for just such a purpose.
The additional pages, interspersed below, will knit the key-letter pages
together into an integrated “course,” teaching the alphabet and sounds,
along with aspects of the content of Judaism.
The additional “preface” pages here give more general useful
information—and can be used now or later according to interest.
*******************************************************
phonetic symbols in the transliteration:
VOWELS:
a
o
u
mama
no, no≠te
guru, bØt
CONSONANTS:
bazaar
i
ây
jet
olé
stressed vowel
ski, s´
eye-ball
So adonây “the Lord” rhymes with “my” or “nigh.”
Different spellings are used for different Hebrew letters, for familiar sounds:
q
(= k) Iraq
S, T (= s, t)
‘, Œ
“silent” consonants
language
e
e™
¶
p˙
k˙, ˙˙
-, >
phone
strong h, as in Hhanukah
separators for affixes
b˙
∑
Ω
=v
=v
= hats
“magic letters” in Hebrew
preface page
ix
sliced bread vs. challah
Words in all languages are based on “roots.” In general, English (like
most languages) works like “sliced bread”: you can cut any word into “slices.” The
central piece is the “root” (stand, play) and other elements are “affixes” (prefixes
before the root, suffixes after).
mis/under/stand/ing/s
re/play/ed
Some words in English (man-men, take-took, etc.) seem to work like Hebrew
words, but not really: Apart from take-took, there are tick, tack, tuck, etc., all
different roots.
“Roots” of Hebrew words consist of consonants only—no vowels: Vowels often
change in different words based on a single root. Up to ten or more words can be
based on a single root. So Hebrew works like “challah”: In addition to the two ends
(prefixes and suffixes), the parts of the Hebrew word can be “infixes,” weaving
under and over the root:
>
vowels:
letters:
Ni—lka—u
:
— > — :
Nilykºøa
tlåkyaå∫º
and (we) are eating
in the eating of
>
vowels:
word:
meaning:
t—lka—b
English has some seemingly similar examples, like take/took. But these fall short
of the Semitic structure: It would be like Semitic only if t-k had a definite meaning
by itself (and wasn’t used in tick, tack). and e-e/oo were independently associated
with present/past. The only truly parallel examples in English are: Islam, Muslim
(based on salaam “peace) borrowed from Arabic, which is a sister-language of
Hebrew and exhibits the same “consonantal roots,” such as s-l-m “peace.”*
*
It should be noted for accuracy that Islam in Arabic means not “peace” but “submission.”
language
bazaar
“magic letters” in Hebrew
key-letter
pages
p
r
b
w
l
1
2
3
open up
scatter
stretch out light up
split
build
spill out
arrange
raise
language
bazaar
bless
key letter p.1
1
the key-letter
is
pronounced p
as in “pirate”
The Hebrew letter
has a dot in it:
p
It means
meaning:
open up
It is traditionally
named pe˙
“OPEN UP”
for “mouth” (hp)
p is pronounced like English p as in pirate (especially when it
π). As you will see later, it is related to English P.
(Does it look a
bit like a backwards P?)
As a “magic letter”
p means open up. It includes the words for “mouth”
and “face,” and also “to open, redeem” and even words for “surprise.” Do you see
the connection between these sub-meanings?
surprise
redeem
open
liπy alfπf hdp xtp -np -p
pil
elephant
pelle’
a wonder
pada˙
redeem
pata˙˙
open
pana˙, pne¶
to turn; a face
pe˙
mouth
Two Jewish holidays begin with p. Which ones? Can you explain why?
phrases:
Can you think of the meaning of each of these phrases, as you guess the missing word?
h„føm diå∫º ‘h iπy-leå
1
hlÅ∫ºqånº t∫Å„å inFπº
2
qdfcf irFeå„å ily ¨xtºπy
3
hÅiπy htÅcºπå hmÅdÅaåhå
4
al-pi ados˙em be-yad mos˙e¶˙
by the _____ of Gd, by the hand of Moses
pne™
shabat neqabla¶˙
Let us receive the _____ of the Sabbath (queen)!
pit>˙˙u¶
li s˙a’are¶ Ωe¶ddeq
______ for me the gates of righteousness
ha>adama¶˙
paΩta˙
et
piha
the Earth ______ its mouth (to receive Abel’s blood)
language
bazaar
key letter p.2
IT’S MAGIC!
A little help on the content and context of the above phrases:
1. Torah is given by (literally “on”) the mouth of God, by the hand of Moses;
2. receiving the “sabbath queen” is expressed, in Hebrew idiom, as receiving her “face”;
3. Open the gates of righteousness” is part of the prayer for forgiveness, on Yom Kipur;
4. Here God accuses Cain of murdering Abel, noting that the Earth opened its mouth to
receive Abel’s blood.
This should be enough for you to do on your own (e.g. in a study-group). We generally won’t
explicate the content and context of the quotes even this far.
Did you translate the blank in 4? Could you
have guessed that it means “open”?
If so, that’s interesting, because you didn’t learn
the word used there for “open”: It’s not given above!
And that’s the point: Magic letters offer a “magic
key” to the meanings of unknown roots and words.
Hebrew words
… are presented in “pointed” spelling—with all their dots and dashes: alfπf ,¨xtºπy.
But the “roots” of Hebrew words are often presented in “unpointed” spelling
(sometimes with a hyphen for additional possible letters): xtp ,-p. We’ll talk more
about Hebrew roots as we go along; for now, you’re not trying to “sound out”
words by their letters, but rather relying on the transliteration.
language
bazaar
key letter p.3
2
the key-letter
is pronounced
__ as in “_____”
p
means
meaning:
scatter
“_____ Æ SCATTER”
It is traditionally
named pe˙
for “____” (hp)
Fill in the header box for review!
The magic letter
p
meaning, “open up,” includes not only “open, mouth, face,
redeem, surprise,” but also “scatter.” Can you see “scatter” as being a special
kind of “opening up”? Can you connect all the “scatter” words?
scatter fl open
iryπº hrÅπÅ rπÅ ¨rπº
pri
_______
para˙
cow
par
bull
all from the same root: pr-
Cp xtp -np
pru
be fruitful
paΩ
scatter
pata˙˙
________
pana˙, pne¶
____, ____
-p
pe˙
______
-rp
Do you understand the connections? Of course you “open” a piece of fruit, but the original reference is to scattering of seeds.
phrases: (includes
review)
{ixyaÅlº {dºiå taf xtåπº
toboahÅ laf ¨npºty laå
rπÅ Mdåmy NhFø˚ xqålÅuº
hmŨdaå hrÅπÅ ¨xqºiyuå
{ibfioa ¨c¨piÅ
NpfgÅhå iryπº arFo∫
¨brº¨ ¨rπº
1
pta˙˙
et yadk˙a le’a˙˙î¶k˙a
_______ your hand to your brother
2
al tip˙nu el ha’ob˙ot
don’t ________ towards ghosts
3
∑e>laka˙˙ ha>ko˙en mi>dam ˙a>par
and the priest will take from the blood of the ______
4
∑a>yik˙˙u
para˙
aduma˙
and they will take a red ________
5
oyb˙e¶k˙a yap˙uΩu
your enemies will _________
6
bore¶
pri
haga¶p˙en
creator of the ____ of the vine
7
pru
u-rb˙u
Be _______ and multiply!
The root -rp is especially “fruitful” itself: It is behind the four words on the left above. (Of
course you “open” a piece of fruit, but the original connection is the scattering of seeds.) This is
only one of the many roots in magic letter p, meaning some kind of “opening up”!
language
bazaar
key letter p.4
1
the key-letter
r
meaning:
stretch out
named resh for ros˙
pronounced r as
in “round rainbow”
“STRETCH OUT ”
(war)
“head”
These six words represent just three roots:
Mrå
words:
roots:
ram
high
¨mmºor }rfoa
romemu
lift!
o¶rek˙
length
}rfaf
qoxrÅ
e¶rrek˙
long
ra˙˙oq
distant
qxårº
re˙˙aq
stay away
Mr
Kra
qxr
ram
high
arak˙
long
ra˙˙aq
distant
Do you see how these three roots (and their six words) all come from the
meaning “stretch”?
Here are six phrases from sidur and Bible containing six different words:
a∑Åinyuº Mrå }lfmf
1
¨nihFolaf ‘h ¨mmºor
2
¨nimFiÅ }rfoauº ¨niiFxå MhF
3
dsfxf bråuº MiyπÅaå }rfaf
4
aihy hqÅoxrº aøl
5
qxårºty rqf„f rbådºmy
6
me¶llek˙
ram
∑e-nisa¶
(God is a) king _____ and-exalted
romemu
ados˙em elo˙e¶nu
(Please everyone) _____ God our-God
˙em ˙˙aye¶nu ∑e-o¶rek˙ yame¶nu
the (are) our-life and-the-_____ our-days
e¶rrek˙
apâ¶yim ∑e-rab˙ ˙˙e¶ssed
______ (of) nose (= slow to anger), and-great (in)
kindness
lo’
re˙˙oqa˙
hi’
not _____ (is) it (= Torah)
language
mi-deb˙ar she¶qqer ti-r˙˙a¶q
from (a) false thing _______
bazaar
key letter p.5
meaning vs. pronunciation
More important than the pronunciation of the points, however, is that the “points”
(and the exact pronunciation) are secondary to meaning (just as in English he read
vs. he is red).
So can you translate the blank words in these phrases?
phrases:
p tº y laå
toboahÅ laf ¨np
MkfinFieF ¨xqºp nº uy º
{lf¨bgº taf itybxår h
º uy º
1
al tiphnu el ˙a>ob˙ot
don’t ______ towards ghosts!
2
Œe¶nek˙em nip˙ke˙˙u¶
your eyes will _______
3
∑e-hir˙˙ab˙ti et geb˙ule¶k˙a
I will ______ your borders
The Hebrew letter p , when it is pronounced p, will always have a dot in it, as
earlier; here there is no dot, so it is pronounced ph (f).
More important, the presence or absence of dots (in this letter and elsewhere) is largely
irrelevant to meaning: Meaning is determined by the letters—and “pirate” and “phirate” and
“standing phirate” are all the same letter: Words do not differ in meaning when they differ just in
their dots. (A dramatic example involving another letter is mi kamok˙a and mi k˙amok˙a
“who is like you?” appearing right next to each other in the Prayer-book, with the letter ˚/k.)
Did you guess the fill-ins? Context helps, of course (especially as you
become acquainted with more and more of the text). But apart from context (and
logic), key letters can help a lot. ANSWERS:
1. This word was given on page 1p as “to turn; a face.” The common translation is “don’t
turn to ghosts!” but it could be translated equally well as “don’t open yourself up to
ghosts!” The verb pana˙ could be translated as “to face.”
2. This one should be easy enough, since “open” fits. But this is actually a special verb
paqa˙˙ “to open one’s eyes,” not related to pata˙˙ “open”—except by key letter.
3. ra˙˙ab˙ is another root that you haven’t learned, meaning “wide, widen.” But if you
used the key letter r and translated “I will stretch your borders,” you got a good answer!
language
bazaar
key letter p.6
2
the key-letter
r
meaning:
light up
named resh for ros˙
pronounced __ as
in “__________”
“_____ Æ
LIGHT UP”
“_____”
(war)
Four words represent just two roots:
words:
apFor
rop˙e¶
doctor, healer
haŨprº
„aør
rep˙u>a¶˙
healing
ros˙
head, beginning
apr
roots:
ti„yarF
res˙î¶t
beginning
war
rap˙a
cure, heal
ros˙
head, beginning
Here are 6 phrases from sidur and Bible containing these words:
arÅ∫Å ti„yarF∫º
1
‘h taårºiy hmÅkºøx ti„yarF
2
¨btF˚åty hnÅ„åhåÅ „aør∫º
3
„aørlº ‘h {nºtånº¨
r∑Å∫Å lfl˚ apFor
hmÅlF„ºy haŨprº
4
In-the-_______ (He) created
r
res˙î¶t
˙˙ok˙ma¶˙ yir’a¶t ados˙em
the-______-of wisdom (is) fear-of Gd
beros˙ ˙a-s˙ana˙ tikate¶b˙u
at-the-______-of the-year you-are-written
bnÅzÅlº aøluº
The “magic letter”
be>res˙î¶t bara’
ros˙ ∑e>lo’ le>zanab˙
u>netank˙a¶ adonâs˙em le
(Gd)-will-make-you the-_____ and not the-tail
5
rop˙e¶’
kol basar
_______-of all flesh
6
rep˙u>a¶˙
s˙lema˙
(I wish someone) complete _____
means not only “stretch” but also light up, enlighten. Can you
understand “light up” as a metaphoric extension of “stretch”? You might have
to “stretch” to “see” it! Do you see how these two roots come from the meaning “light up”?
Medicine is one form of “enlightenment”; the head, in Hebrew, is not so much the “thinking”
part of the body as it is the “guiding” part, as in phrase 4.
language
bazaar
key letter p.7
1
the key-letter
b
meaning:
split
named bet “house”
pronounced
b as in “box” or v
“SPLIT”
(tib)
Here are four phrases from sidur and Bible containing four different words:
h„øm inFpºly Miå eåqFø∫
1
MimyeÅhÅ lfl˚my ¨n∫Å rxå∫Å
2
loxlå „dfoq Ni∫F
lidybm
º åhå
}„ox NibF¨ roa Ni∫F ldFbºiåuÅ
boqe¶a
yam lip˙ne¶ mos˙e˙
who splits the sea in front of Moses
ba˙˙ar
ba¶nu mikol ha’amim
chose us from among all the peoples
3
˙amab˙>dil
be™n
qo¶des˙ la-˙˙ol
who-separates between holy and secular
4
b˙ayab˙>del be™n o¶r ub˙e™n ˙˙o¶s˙ek˙
who-separates between holy and secular
The various words in 3-4 come from two roots:
lidybºmå
mab˙dil
separates
ldFbºiåuÅ
∑ayab˙del
separated
hlÅdÅbºhå
hab˙dala¶˙
separation
Ni∫F
NibymF
be¶n
between
meb˙î¶n
discerns
ldb
Nib
separate
between
• Can you find here the name of the observance in which phrase 3 occurs?
•
Do you see the connection between “between” and the verb based on it, meaning “discern,
understand”? (It has made its way into English as a word meaning “expert.”)
“Separation” (distinction) is a major concept of Judaism, as expressed in
the Creation story, as well as in havdalah.
language
bazaar
key letter p.8
2
the key-letter
b
meaning:
build
named bet “_______”
pronounced
___ or ___
“___ Æ BUILD”
(tib)
From the primary meaning “split,” (1) the key-letter b has the derived
meaning “build”(2-4)—which includes “house, father, visit, love, …”
h„øm inFpºly Miå eåqFø∫
1
Miylå„Ũriº uimÅxårå∫º hnfø∫
2
{xfi„mº duydÅ ti∫F
3
Mimyxåråhå baå
4
boqe¶a
yam lip˙ne¶ mos˙e¶˙
who-_____s the sea in front of Moses
bone˙
be-ra˙˙ama∑ yerus˙alayim
who ______ in his mercy Jerusalem
bet
Da∑î¶d meshi˙˙e¶k˙a
the _______ of David your anointed
ab˙
˙a-ra˙˙amim
_______ merciful (literally: of mercy)
Do you see the connection between “splitting” and “building”? Between
“building” and “house”? Between “house” and “father”? These are all
metaphoric extensions from the primary meaning of b, “split.”
Can you trace the extensions logically? For example, how is morning a “splitting”?
How many of these have you seen above?
bhFøa ,dbFøe
rqF∫å ,a∫Å
¨ baå
t∫å ,N∫F
¨ tiy∫å
hmÅi∫y
love work
visit come
¨ father
daughter son
¨ house
stage
¨ hnfø∫ ¨ rqfø∫ ,eåqFø∫
arFø∫
rxFo∫
¨ build
create
¨ morning split
choose
review primary & secondary meanings of key letters.
b
c
p
r
primary
secondary
language
bazaar
k
key letter p.9
3
the key-letter
b
meaning:
bless
named bet “_______”
pronounced
_ as in ______
“___ Æ BLESS”
(tib)
From “split” is also derived the key-letter meaning “bless.”
}rÅøbmºhå ‘h }¨r∫Å
aibynhÅ å ¨hiÅlyafå
1
Baru¶k˙
ados˙em hamb˙orak˙
_______ (is) ____, who-is-to-be-______ed
2
Eliya¶hu hanab˙
tuboj torø∑∫º ¨nlÅ r∑Fbåiuy
3
Elijah the-______
∑i-b˙aSe¶r la¶nu beSoro¶t tob˙o¶t
and-will-announce to us good news
¨krº∫ }¨r∫ }rÅobmº hrÅo∑∫º r∑F∫å r∑Å∫Å
barek˙u¶
baru¶k˙
meb˙ora¶k˙
beSora¶˙
baSe¶r
baSa¶r
bless you all!
blessed*
to be blessed
good news
announce
good news
meat
*Because of this word, according to the Zohar, the letter b was given the honor of
beginning the Torah.
Do you see the connection between “splitting” and “meat”? Between “good news ”
and “meat”? Between “house” and “father”?
Can you trace the metaphoric extensions logically?
riey∫Å ,hmÅhF∫º
rqÅ∫Å,r∑Å∫Å
cattle
beef, meat
¨ }rF∫å
,r∑F∫å
aibynÅ
¨ bless, good-news
prophet
You could say that “blessing” is also a kind of “building.”
The complete scheme for b, abbreviated, is:
house
meat
language
bazaar
ro∫
raF∫º
¨
eåqFø∫
rxFo∫
¨
¨ a well
a hole/pit
¨ split
choose
build
bless
split
key letter p.10
1
the key-letter
pronounced
sh as in “ship” or s
w
meaning:
spill out
named s˙in for
s˙en “tooth” (Nw)
“SPILL OUT” (JOY, ABOUND)
Can you connect these words to shabat?
htfo„
hxÅmº∑y
s˙ote˙
drinks
r„Å
sim˙˙a˙
joy, rejoice
t∫Å„å
s˙ar
sings, song
s˙abat
rest; sabbath
All these roots (and many others) represent the meanings of the
“magic letter” w: to spill out. “Spill out” includes “joy” and
“singing,” as well as “abundance.” Here are other roots with similar
meanings:
}pFo„
Nmf„f
s˙op˙ek˙
spill out
s˙e¶mmen
oil
irF„ºaå ri„yeÅ qxF∑å Mol„Å
as˙re¶
happy is
Œas˙ir
rich
Sa˙˙eq
play
s˙alom
_______
phrases.
{tfibF ibF„ºoi irF„ºaå
1
Miiyoghå leå {tºmåxå }op„º
2
„dÅxÅ ri„y ‘hl ¨ri„y
3
Miymå„Åhå ¨xmº∑ºiy
4
language
as˙re¶
yos˙>b˙e¶ b˙ete¶k˙a
_______-are the-residents-of your-_____
s˙p˙ok˙
˙˙amatk˙a¶ Œal ha>goyim
_______ Your-wrath upon the-peoples
s˙iru
lados˙em
s˙ir
˙˙adas˙
_______ to-the-Lord (a) new _______
yiSme˙˙u ˙a>s˙amâ¶yim
the-heavens __________
bazaar
key letter p.11
2
key-letter
pronounced
__ as in “____”
or”____”
w
meaning:
arrange
named s˙in for
“___ Æ ARRANGE”
s˙en
“______” (Nw)
This “magic letter” can mean not only “spill out” but also to “arrange, make
orderly.” Note the different sub-meanings:
PLACE
ROOTS
NUMBERS
ORDER
SETTLE
LIE DOWN
M„F
N„F
ebå„f
jpFo„
b„F
bkFø„
s˙e¶b˙a
s˙op˙et
s˙eb˙
s˙ok˙eb˙
s˙em
s˙en
name
tooth
seven; oath
judge
sit; settle
lie down
M∑Å
„rfø„
„„F
rmFø„
NkFo„
N„FiÅ
Sam
s˙o¶res˙
s˙es˙
s˙omer
s˙ok˙en
yas˙en
put
root
six
guard, keep
dwell
sleep; old
M„Å
reÅ∑F
SeŒar
r∑feF
Œe¶SSer
eåmFø„
s˙ome¶Œa
r„ÅiÅ
yas˙ar
rkÅ∑Å
Sak˙ar
there
hair
ten
listen, hear
straight
reward
s˙am
phrases.
{tfibF∫º {tºbº„yå∫º
1
{mf¨qbº¨ {∫ºkºø„å∫º
2
døbeåtå Miny„Å „„F
3
‘hl t∫Å„å$ieyby„ºhå Mui
4
ikyønaå ixyaå rmfø„hå
5
be-s˙ib˙tek˙a be>betek˙a
in-your-_____ing in-your-______
be-s˙ok˙bek˙a u>b˙e>qume¶k˙a
iin-your-_______ and-in-your-arising
s˙es˙
s˙anim taŒab˙od
______ years you-shall-_______
yom ha>s˙b˙iŒi s˙abat lados˙em
the-________th day (is a) _____ for-the-Lord
language
ha>s˙omer a˙˙i anok˙i
(am)-the-________-of my-brother I
bazaar
key letter p.12
1
the key-letter
l
meaning:
raise
named lamed for lamad
pronounced l
as in “lightning bolt”
“RAISE”
(dml)
“study”
The basic meaning of the key letter is “raise”:
Nwl
llFhå
liyaå
l’aF ,qåolaf
hle
go up
las˙o¶n
halel
â¶yil
elo¶>aq, e’l
tongue
praise
ram; leader
Gd
Œala˙
But it also covers a variety of other meanings, viewed as “raising,” e.g. “learning, birth, heart.”
Nbl
bl
dl
MlÅøe
dml
lab˙an
white; brick
leb˙
heart
led
birth
Œolam
world, eternity
lamad
learn, teach
-l
,laf
el, letowards*
Kl
lek˙
walk, go*
* Compare “Go up (= down) the street.”
So, like r (“wide”), l (“high”) is associated with “spiritual” concepts.
phrases.
hmÅxÅlºmy doe ¨dmºlåºiy aøl
1
Miiyxå iqF¨x MdFmºlåtºuå
2
{tºdlåommy {lº }lF
3
bºbålºå lflk∫º {iqføl€a tÅbºhåaåuº
MlÅoeå tbåhåaå {mºeå tÅbºhåaå
{mF„º MlÅoeåmF
‘h llFht
å º hmÅ„Ånºhå lfl˚
{
language
lo’ yilmedu¶ Œod mil˙˙ama¶˙
(they) won’t ________ any-more war
∑a>telamde¶m ˙˙uqe¶ ˙˙âyî¶m
and-you-will-______-them the-rules-of life
lek˙ lek˙a¶ mi>moladetk˙a¶
go forth from-your-_____-place
4 ∑e>a˙ab˙ta eloqe¶k˙a be>k˙ol leb˙ab˙k˙a¶
iyou-shall-love your-____ with-all-your-_____
5
a˙ab˙ta Œamk˙a¶ a˙ab˙at
Œolam
you-have-loved your-people with-love _______
6
me-Œolam s˙me¶k˙a
your-name (is) from-__________
7
kol ˙a>ns˙ama˙ te>˙alel ados˙em
every soul will-______ God
bazaar
`