Hebrew alphabet

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[edit] Hebrew Alphabet - AlefBeit

[edit] Number of Hebrew letters

At the more obvious and literal level, there are of course precisely twenty-two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, beginning with Alef, and ending with Tav. It is, it may be of interest, precisely the common opening and the various endings of the three alphabets of the educated European from earlier times - namely the common (vulgar) Latin, the philosophical-scientific Greek, and the spiritual Hebrew, that combined formed that most wonderful word 'AZΩTh'.

The Hebrew letters are transliterated in various ways, such as the first letter being 'named' as either Alef or Aleph. The letters are named below, in sequence, according to the most standard Jewish transliteration fashion. A number of books on Tarot use the earlier common form also adopted by the Golden Dawn.

Alef, Beit, Gimel, Dalet, Heh, Vav, Zain, Heth, Tet, Yod, Kaf, Lamed, Mem, Nun, Samek, Ayin, Peh, Tzadi, Kof, Resh, Shin, Tav.

Each of these has three aspects of central importance also mentioned in the Sefer Yetzirah: their shape or image; their voiced sound; and their number value.

[edit] Mother, Double, and Single letters

Hebrew letters, in addition to also being used as numerals, have long been divided into three sections. Some of these divisions are made on linguistic grounds (or, rather, phonetic). For example, the letter Bet has two vocalisations, corresponding to our 'B' and 'v'. Both of these are bilabial - the sound arises from the two lips - one being plosive (B), the other fricative (V).

There are seven such letters that have a plosive and fricative form (see green arrows below). One of these, Resh, tending to have 'lost' its plosive aspect. As its plosive form is included in written form in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Old Testament), it remains a sacred and utilized letter.

Of the remaining letters, three have been designated mother letters (see red arrows below), reasons for which are only suggested by various exegesis. This leaves twelve letters to be deemed 'single'.

Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet [Alef-Beit]

[edit] Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet:

Some interesting characteristic of showing all the possible letter-form is that we can easily see not only that there are twenty-two, but that these are increased in number to twenty-seven when we consider their final form (ie, if the letter occurs at the end of a word, it changes shape to the from below the dotted line), and a total of thirty-six letter-images arises when we list all their dageshed (the plosive dot) renditions. For those who are Hebrew literate, it may be worth noting that the various depictions of Shin not here included

[edit] Hebrew letters as numbers and the AIK BKR

There are two important numerical aspects related to Hebrew letters. One if these is their ordinal value. This refers to the value of each letter's relative position in the sequence. For example, Peh is 17th letter.

The other is the cardinal value of the letter. In other words, its value when the letter is used as number. In this case, Peh (to use the same example) has a value of 80.

The Nine Chambers (so called due to its nine cells) or AIK BKR, named after the first six letters in these chambers (remembering that Hebrew is read right-to-left) easily shows the cardinal value of each letter and its relation to others.

For the sake of clarity, the mother letters are here depicted red, and the double letters are each shown in their plosive form - with the dagesh of central dot.


Shin • Lamed • Gimel

image:Shin.gif image:Lamed.gif image:Gimel.gif

300 • 030 • 003



Resh • Kaf • Beit

image:Resh.gif image:Kaf.gif image:Bet.gif

200 • 020 • 002


Kof • Yod • Alef

image:Kof.gif image:Yod.gif image:Alef.gif

100 • 010 • 001


Mem (final) • Samek • Vav

image:MemF.gif image:Samek.gif image:Vav.gif

600 • 060 • 006



Kaf (final) • Nun • Heh

image:KafF.gif image:Nun.gif image:Heh.gif

500 • 050 • 005



Tav • Mem • Dalet

image:Tav.gif image:Mem.gif image:Dalet.gif

400 • 040 • 004



Tzadi (final) • Tzadi • Tet

image:TzadiF.gif image:Tzadi.gif image:Tet.gif

900 • 090 • 009



Peh (final) • Peh • Heth

image:PehF.gif image:Peh.gif image:Heth.gif

800 • 080 • 008



Nun (final) • Ayin • Zain

image:NunF.gif image:Ayin.gif image:Zain.gif

700 • 070 • 007


AIK BKR - Table of Nine Chambers

These two numerical methods can at times lead to some confusion. Is Kaf eleven or twenty? This is, however, in practise not as confusing as may at first appear. The value of the letter is in every case taken as its cardinal value (Kaf is 20), and in eleventh place.

[edit] Hebrew letters and Tarot

Hebrew letters have explicitly been linked in some way or other to Tarot since M. Le C. de M.*** (Monsieur le Comte de Mellet) noted that the Atouts and the Hebrew alphabet have the same number.

It was not, however, until Eliphas Levi that specific correlations were attributed. Since then, various correlations have been made, one of the popular ones discussed on Hebrew letters: Golden Dawn-type correlations.

It may also be worth mentioning that in Mark Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade is suggested that the sequence forms an abecederium reflecting the illustration of words and concepts in late mediƦval Hebrew and, in some cases, an isomorphism between card and image of the Hebrew letter, suggesting that perhaps the alphabet were instrumental in both the sequencing and design of the cards. This thesis has not met with general approval, with some as-yet-to-be substantiated claims that alternate sequences may be reached for the whole trump sequence by similar procedures.

[edit] List of known and 'common' attributions

Letters

Filipas

 

de Mellet

 

Levi

Golden Dawn

Crowley

Sitsky

Gray

Image:Alef.gif

Bateleur

 

World

 

Bateleur

Fool

Fool

Bateleur

Pope

Image:Bet.gif

Popess

 

Judgement

 

Popess

Bateleur

Bateleur

Popess

Hermit

Image:Gimel.gif

Empress

 

Sun

 

Empress

Popess

Popess

Empress

Star

Image:Dalet.gif

Emperor

 

Moon

 

Emperor

Empress

Empress

Emperor

Judgement

Image:Heh.gif

Pope

 

Star

 

Pope

Emperor

Star

Pope

Temperance

Image:Vav.gif

Lovers

 

Tower

 

Lovers

Pope

Pope

Lovers

Emperor

Image:Zain.gif

Chariot

 

Devil

 

Chariot

Lovers

Lovers

Chariot

Hanged Man

Image:Heth.gif

Justice

 

Temperance

 

Justice

Chariot

Chariot

Strength

Death

Image:Tet.gif

Hermit

 

Death

 

Magician

Strength

Strength

Hermit

Justice

Image:Yod.gif

Fortune

 

Hanged Man

 

Fortune

Hermit

Hermit

Fortune

Strength

Image:Kaf.gif

Strength

 

Strength

 

Strength

Fortune

Fortune

Justice

Empress

Image:Lamed.gif

Hanged Man

 

Wheel

 

Hanged Man

Justice

Justice

Hanged Man

Tower

Image:Mem.gif

Death

 

Hermit

 

Death

Hanged Man

Hanged Man

Death

Devil

Image:Nun.gif

Temperance

 

Justice

 

Temperance

Death

Death

Temperance

Lovers

Image:Samek.gif

Devil

 

Chariot

 

Devil

Temperance

Temperance

Devil

Sun

Image:Ayin.gif

Tower

 

Lovers

 

Tower

Devil

Devil

Tower

Chariot

Image:Peh.gif

Star

 

Jupiter

 

Star

Tower

Tower

Star

Wheel

Image:Tzadi.gif

Moon

 

Emperor

 

Moon

Star

Emperor

Moon

Popess

Image:Kof.gif

Sun

 

Empress

 

Sun

Moon

Moon

Sun

World

Image:Resh.gif

Judgement

 

Junon

 

Judgement

Sun

Sun

Judgement

Bateleur

Image:Shin.gif

World

 

Bateleur

 

Fool

Judgement

Judgement

World

Fool

Image:Tav.gif

Fool

 

Fool

 

World

World

World

Fool

Moon

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