September 15, 2009

Lesson 1: Hebrew Alef


The Torah was first written in Hebrew, so it makes sense for us to learn some Hebrew. The Hebrew lessons on this website are for beginners, with the Hebrew alphabet and some short words. We designed these beginner’s lessons for the Deaf—they will not include Hebrew vowel points. The original Hebrew language began—without the vowel points. You can learn the Hebrew language easily by memorizing the shape of each letter, and by recognizing a few short words.   

Alef or א is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the modern Hebrew script, it looks much like an X but long ago, when the ancient Canaanites carved Alef on stone tablets, this letter looked like the head of the ox. The ox is known to have several important meanings: First, Gentle, Tame, Ox, Bull, Leader of family or tribe. Alef also represents the number 1. The Phoenician Alef and Paleo-Hebrew Alef looked much like the letter A fallen sideway. Over time, it slowly transformed to look like our English A or or the Hebrew א. Our English Alpha letter “A” looks the same in most foreign romance languages such as Spanish, French, Italy, German, Russian and is still listed as the first letter in most of their alphabets. 

Related scriptures about the oxen 

Proverbs 14:4  Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

The ox was also an important part of the tabernacle offerings, especially for leaders. 

Numbers 7:3   They (the tribal leaders of the Israelites) brought their offering before the Lord, six covered carts and twelve oxen, a cart for every two of the leaders, and an ox for each one. These they presented before the tabernacle. 

Related scriptures about the first: 

Deuteronomy 18:4  You are to give them (the priests) the first fruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep.

Deuteronomy 26:9-10  He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.

Mark 10:31  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Yeshua also calls himself the first. He is the first of the dead to be resurrected, the firstborn of all those who will be resurrected. 

1 Corinthians 15:23  But this will happen to each person in his own turn: Messiah the firstfruits of the harvest and afterward those are belong to Messiah at his coming.

Revelation 22:13   (NIV) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (CJB) I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

Isaiah 41:4   Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? “I, Adonai (Lord), am the first, and with the last. I am He.”

Isaiah 44:6   Thus says Adonai, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.” 

Yeshua is the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so properly translated, He is saying that He is the Alef and the Tav, from the Hebrew alphabet!! Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Z is the last letter of our English alphabet.

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