Traditional stories teach that HE who knows how to combine the letters of the Hebrew Alef-Bet can create or destroy worlds. It is said if the letters were to remove themselves from the heavens above us, even for an instant, and return to their source, the entire heaven would become an instant vacuum. "The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alef-Bet" examines each of the letters, from Alef to Tav, and explains the wisdom and understanding embodied in each one. The book is rich in tradition and will challenge your understanding of the role Hebrew letters play in the world and how it's creation.
The story is told how Rebbe Nachman of Breslov once suffered from amnesia and could not remember any of the Torah he had learned. In desperation, he asked one of his disciples to recite the Hebrew alphabet. He did -- and the Rebbe's memory came back to him. After reading this excellent book, you will understand how that is possible. The Hebrew alphabet is much more than 22 letters written on paper. Each letter has a numerical value, a number of symbolic Torah meanings, and a mystical connection to the Creation of the Universe. According to kabbalah, the Hebrew letters are the primal "energies" with which God spoke the Creation into existence. The inner essence of a thing are the letters which compose its name in Hebrew. (The Overview in the book is entitled "Protoplasm of Creation," and explains this concept in more detail than I can do here.)
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.
Samuel from Long Beach, CA United States
The Hebrew Aleph-Bet is explained in such a clear fashion that anyone can understand. It goes in depth into describing the letters and give a multitude of examples of how those letters are important to Torah interpretation. Its delves deeply into Talmud, Midrash and commentaries to present examples of inspiration and morality based on these letters. Any student of Hebrew and Kabbalah should read this book.
J. Oak from Socorro, NM
I am a Christian Minister, and I greatly enjoyed this book. It gives an overall view of the basic ideas of Judaism that is clear and beautiful. It also explains the concept of the creative Word of God and the power of the spoken word, by a metaphysical analysis of each letter from Aleph to Tav, each of which is an "entity." Beautifully written. I read a copy loaned by a Rabbi friend, and had to get my own copy for future reference.
One enters the realm of alef-bet wondering what could it have to do with me and leaves pondering how did one ever exist without comprehending the applicability of the knowledge that emanates from this tome? 'Wisdom' transports the reader not only back in history, but also through a panorama of the very essence of how words were birthed within the culture of HaShem's people and yes, their history too. A must for one who desires to drink from the first springs that feed the mighty rivers.