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ALEPH (AY-lef)

First letter of the Hebrew alphabet

Common clues: First Hebrew letter; Introduction to Hebrew?; Hebrew alphabet opener; Beth's preceder; Hebrew leader?; A, in Hebrew

Related crosswordese: ALEF

Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year

News: Alphabet Soup

Video: Yiddish Aleph Beth

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Its original value was a glottal stop. In Modern Israeli Hebrew, the letter is either a glottal stop, or has no pronunciation besides that of the vowel under it. The pronunciation of Aleph varies from group to group, with some pronouncing it more as a glottal stop, and others more silently.

Aleph is the subject of a midrash which praises its humility in not demanding to start the Bible. (In Hebrew the Bible is begun with the second letter of the alphabet, Bet.) In this folktale, Aleph is rewarded by being allowed to start the Ten Commandments. (In Hebrew, the first word is 'Anokhi, which starts with an aleph.)

In the Sefer Yetzirah, The letter Aleph is King over Breath, Formed Air in the universe, Temperate in the Year, and the Chest in the soul.

Aleph is also the first letter of the Hebrew word emet, which means truth. In Jewish mythology it was the letter aleph that was carved into the head of the golem which ultimately gave it life.

Aleph also begins the three words that make up God's mystical name in Exodus, I Am That I Am, (in Hebrew, 'Ehye 'Asher 'Ehye), and aleph is an important part of mystical amulets and formulas.

Hebrew Sayings with Aleph

From Aleph to Taw describes something from beginning to end; the Hebrew equivalent of the English From A to Z.

One who doesn't know how to make an Aleph is someone who is illiterate.

Not with a big Aleph (lo b'aleph rabati) means Absolutely not!.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aleph (Hebrew)".