In English, our letters have no meaning beyond the role they play to indicate the specific sounds that we apply to our language and to build and form our words. In Hebrew, the letters retain a history and legacy of sound, ideas, concepts, thoughts and symbols, even number.
Today, we will explore the meaning of the letters that form the word, torah.
Above are the 4 Hebrew consonants that create the word, torah. The modern Hebrew letters lay directly beneath the Paleo Hebrew Letters that give the impression of a halo above.
Remember, we move from right to left when reading in Hebrew.
Torah is spelled with the, tav (t), vav (v), reish (r), hei (h). The vav is represents the sound of 2 vowels in Hebrew, the ‘o’ as in doe, and the ‘u’ as in blue. The vav in torah of course, takes the ‘o’ sound. That little dot above the vav is our indication that the vav is pronounced with the ‘o’ sound as well. That little dot is called a nikkud.
For those that are a bit more curious about the Hebrew letters, you may be asking yourself what that little dot is inside the letter tav. That dot is called a dagesh and it tells us that the tav is to be pronounced with a hard ‘T’ sound. Yes! tav has 2 sounds, one hard and one soft. The soft ‘T’ is similar to our ‘Th’ in English. The little dash underneath the reish is also a nikkud, which represents the ‘a’ sound.
IMPORTANT: You don’t need to memorize any of the rules of grammar/diacritics, and I am being very generic in transmitting them because I feel it’s more important to reveal the concepts about the letters themselves, than it is right now, to speak in terms of rules of grammar. You will hear me repeat this type of information so often, that you will absorb it by relationship rather than rigid teaching methods. Let’s just have fun learning about the letters!
The slide below, has been adapted to retain the names of the letters, to make it easier for those who are new to Hebrew to follow along.
Let’s begin with the letter tav on the far right. As you can see, the tav originated in the form of a cross. The tav in Hebrew represents the covenant and the cross.
The cross you see there above the modern Hebrew letter for tav, also carries the meaning of, mark, sign, and seal. Torah begins with a ‘tav’, because torah is about keeping covenant with GOD. Even the word in Hebrew for truth, emet (which we must examine as well), begins with the aleph and ends with the tav.
There is your truth, my truth and GOD’s Truth. If the truth we tell, does not begin and end with GOD, and His Covenant, then that truth is incomplete, imperfect and flawed, like us. So, you see the truth as we define it in our dictionary and how GOD even spells it with His aleph-bet, are 2 completely different things.
I Am the Aleph and the Tav…
The tav is also the LAST Letter in the Hebrew aleph-bet. You will recall, the Aleph is the FIRST.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. –Rev 22:13
When Christ made this statement He was bearing witness/testifying that He was indeed, the messiah. This is one of the primary reasons a great majority of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes, so vehemently came against Him. He was claiming to be the one spoken of in the torah, in the Book of Isaiah.
The Book of Isaiah:
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he. –Isaiah 41:4
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. –Isaiah 44:6
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. –Isaiah 48:12
Additional Testimony Recorded by John
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. –Rev 1:11
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last. –Rev 1:17
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; –Rev 2:8
Also Note: That the acts of the Kings as listed in the book of Chronicles, are listed from first to last.
A Greek/Western Mindset vs. Torah Mindset
From reading our KJV Bibles, naturally, we have learned this verse from the Greek perspective. Although I am aware that we have been taught for generations, that the New Testament was written only in Greek, I want you to bear with me a moment. I am also completely aware, that we were also taught for generations, that the Jews had lost their native language by the first century. This has been proven false as well, but I know the understanding is still out there, and that it is very difficult to shed false teachings.
With that in mind, let us just acknowledge and agree with documented history, which confirms that Jesus was a Jew. I have no doubt that He spoke both Aramaic and Hebrew. That being the case, it is not logical to assume that He abandoned His native language completely when He spoke. After all, He is born to Jewish parents, lived as a Jew, His ministry was to the Jews and He taught the torah from torah scrolls. He was not Roman or Greek, this we know as well.
I have studied and spoke many different languages over the years, but I still think in English. It is natural and instinctive to speak in your native language, even when you are in the presence of those who speak another language. It is particularly natural, to speak English when you are with the English, and Hebrew when you are with Hebrews.
Shifting from Alpha/Omega to aleph and tav
Jesus is speaking to His own people here, so it’s important for us to know, that He did not say that He was the, “Alpha and Omega”. Jesus was Jewish. What He said was, “I am the aleph and the tav, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
What we wrote down was the opposite, or rather a piece of the truth of what He said.
Our Alphabet runs from A to Z. The Hebrew Aleph-Bet runs from aleph to tav. Allow me to pause a moment and explain, why I have a tendency NOT TO capitalize when transliterating the Hebrew. There are no capital letters in Biblical/Modern Hebrew. All the letters are written in block format and there are no form of the letters that would be considered capital. In Modern Hebrew script, the same situation exist.
I like to think, that since the entire foundation of the Biblical Hebrew Language that was given to us by GOD, that every letter has equal footing and significance. Considering that character refinement, i.e., humility, is one of the foundational principles of GOD’s message, I don’t think that I am far off. Character is key and humility is the Essence of GOD.
Having said that, let’s add to the understanding that, the Hebrew language flows from aleph (ELOHIM) to tav (the CROSS). Every letter in between, reveals our prophetic journey that begins with GOD and ends at the Cross, by way of the Covenant. So, when Christ says, He is the aleph and the tav… He is identifying Himself (in the first century)as He is identified throughout the pages of the scriptures (Book of Isaiah), as the beginning and the end, the aleph and the tav.
To say, torah… the word must begin with a tav, as the covenant is the beginning and end of the torah. Torah is about Covenant. Torah is teaching us how to gain access to the Covenant. Torah must begin with the tav, because there is no access to GOD, His Thoughts, His Ways, His Wisdom, His Knowledge, His Son, without the Covenant.
Acceptance of the Covenant is our sign and seal that GOD is with us. “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you…” –Gen 9:9
Suffice it to say, the even the word covenant in Hebrew (ber-eeth; 1285), begins with the letter beit (B) and ends with the tav (T). You can’t even say the word ‘covenant’ in Hebrew, the Language of GOD, without ending with the tav on the tip of your tongue!,
God Bless You,
Posts Included in This Series:
To access more teachings of this kind on the Hebrew Letters:
Copyright 2019, Rev. S. Madison, torahisteaching.blog