- Series: ArtScroll (Mesorah)
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Mesorah Pubns Ltd; 1st edition (June 1, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0899061931
- ISBN-13: 978-0899061931
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet (ArtScroll (Mesorah)) Hardcover – June 1, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike so many of those pseudo-kabbalah books on the market, which attempt to use the Hebrew alphabet and its numerology for fortune-telling, this book is solidly grounded in authentic Torah sources. Like all of Artscroll's publications, the approach is Orthodox, but also accessible to both Jews and non-Jews of all backgrounds. This is not an easy-read "spirituality" book, however. It is a detailed set of Torah lessons, to be savored slowly, one letter-chapter at a time. The author also assumes that you are either familiar with basic Hebrew terms, or at least willing to take the time to learn them. But even if you do not already know the Hebrew alphabet, this book will help you understand the deeper wisdom within traditional Judaism.
He makes many observations about the reason why every letter was created, why it has that particular shape and orientation and how it communicates with the physical and spiritual realms as well as with other letters
It also makes many related references citing Midrashic (Torah interpretations), Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) sources
Although the book follows a definite structure, one letter, one chapter, the extent and depth of the explanations for every letter go quite different as letters are indeed different too
I conclude that this is not a book to read just one time because one is interested in this particular subject but a reference volume worth to be consulted many times, in any library of any University for the purpose of religious studies and research
After beginning to read the book, I decided I had to buy it for my Father; then, a separate one for my Mother (she kept stealing his); my brother; and at my dad's request a spare one that he could have to give away.
The author has a wonderful way of presenting a historical perspective on the structure and sounds of the Hebrew letters; while also presenting the religious and cultural considerations.
Being a Christian, I have found it especially wonderful. I didn't realize that many of the concepts related by Jesus and the other writers in the New Testament were dealt with at length by the Scribes and Rabbis in sacred writings other than the Torah, Books of Wisdom and the Prophets. This book uses references to those writings (as well as those included in our Old Testament) to explain the importance and nuances of meaning of the letters. This adds so much meaning for me to some of the things Jesus said and did: I'm truly amazed at how many of the things that seemed a little odd, actually have a reason behind them.
This book cannot just simply be read in a sitting. I find myself going over and over the chapters; gleaning something new each time. Actually, I have yet to get through even a chapter in one sitting. And, has it helped my grasp of the Hebrew language? It really has! To know that each letter is made up of parts, and to have word pictures to remember the letters by...makes it so much easier to remember the shapes and sounds.
I do wish the author had put the Transliteration along with the actual translation when he uses the Hebrew phrases. I love the phrases; and, their meaning. But, I'm not skilled enough with the Hebrew to be able to sound them all out, and I would like to "hear" the Hebrew as well as read the translation of it. Perhaps, that makes an online version with audio a valid option in the future.
My Father also expressed this as something he wishes it contained. That is the reason I gave it a 4. In concept, content and presentation, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet is certainly excellent. This is it's only flaw, I think, if you can call it a flaw.