The Beauty of the Hebrew Language
by Foster Krane
The Hebrew language has several advantages over other languages. It is the holy language in that through it G-d Himself created this world. It is the original language in which the holiest writings of three religions are based. It also is different from all other languages in that all the other languages use a convention to refer to an object meaning the word "door" is merely an accepted sound which is accepted by English speakers to refer to a door, but does not relate to the essence of the door. In Hebrew, the name of the object refers to the essence of the object. What this means will be explained shortly.
All words in Hebrew are related through the letters that are used in the word. This is because G-d Himself created the Hebrew language in order to create the world. Each letter is a separate power that when G-d spoke the letters that came together forming words, and via the words formed physical objects.
The question of why G-d had to speak reveals the essence of Hebrew. Before creation there was no one to speak to, so why use speech? In addition, if you think that G-d had to "speak" to create and not "think," then you limit G-d's infinite abilities. In addition, why is the concept of "speech" used in reference to G-d, are we not mature enough to know that G-d does not possess a body, therefore bodily attributes, such as a mouth, do not exist in G-d? This strengthens the question of what is the Bible telling us when it uses the expression "speech"?
The reason we are told that G-d "spoke" is to understand a deeper concept. Speech is a process of revealing that which is hidden and in a non physical sense to become revealed and physical. That which is in the mind is considered hidden to viewers, the thoughts that the mind possesses are considered non-real and a non-existent body. Once the person begins to speak, he reveals that which was hidden in his mind and in comparison to the idea, the speech of that idea is now available for all to hear and record, which gives it its "physical" aspect when compared to the thought.
Like a king, who through the utterance of an order, through his servants the order is carried out. We see a similarity in the utterances of G-d, who revealed His deepest "thoughts" through his utterances and created the world.
But even more so, we find that the letters and words that G-d used, since they were especially made by G-d, contain G-dly power. Thus through the knowledge of Hebrew, the famous Golem of Prague was created.
Hebrew was the language of Adam and existed as the only language until many centuries later when man built the Tower of Babel and only then were other languages created. These languages did not possess the uniqueness of Hebrew but were merely languages that were based on convenience and convention. The other languages could not relate the word to the object except as an "agreed" protocol that this sound meant this object. Hebrew, however, retained its uniqueness in that the word related to the object as the object was constructed and built from the letters of the object.
This was at this period of giving languages to all the nations. At about that time the name Hebrew was given. The name "Hebrew" comes from the word Ever, meaning from the other side. This was the language of Abraham the Hebrew who came from the other side of the Jordan River, in Hebrew "ever" where this was his language. He was also a descendent of Ever who preceded the tower of Babel. The Hebrew language also came from the other side of the threshold of the world's meeting the non-world of G-d's mind.
The word "Over" is also used meaning a sin or transgression, since a transgression implies crossing over the line that divides normal action from prohibited action.
Using the same letters, but in a different order, is the word Erev . This is the word meaning not the two sides of the line, but the point in which the two sides meet. Erev is used to mean evening, the time that the day ends and night begins, the mingling of the day and night, the twilight. Hence the name of the evening prayer, "Maariv".
It also means Arabs who are collections of many peoples who existed in the Middle East and were mixed up through battles and natural migration. Hence the word Irbuv, means a mixture of two or more diverse items.
To bet, which means each person puts his money in a pot and the winner takes all is called hitarev. A co-signer who accepts the obligations of a borrower, that is, if the borrower defaults, he agrees to pay, is called an Orev since he mixes in with the borrower and accepts his responsibilities.
These are just a very few examples of the relationships that exist between words in Hebrew. All words are related it just requires a small bit of imagination on your part to gain a large insight into various words. The study of the Bible in a translation is incomparable to that of the original. So much is lost in the understanding that no person can be considered a man of understanding unless he has a fluent understanding of Hebrew.
from the July 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine