Aleph Tav and Ridiculous Hebrew Word Pictures

Aleph Tav

By Menashe Dovid (מנשה דוד) ©
BrownyThe messianic movements are currently wowing the Christian world again (see Dr. Brown’s resurrection left) with the latest revelation based on the New Testament (NT) book of Revelation. The book of Revelation calls both the Christian god (Jesus), the Messianic god (Yeshua) and the ‘almighty god’, the Alpha (Α) and the Omega (Ω), the first and the last. The latest revelation of course is an equating of the Alpha (Α) and the Omega (Ω), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet with the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet; aleph (א) and tav (ת). The equating of course is no doubt the latest development for those in the Christian and Messianic movements hell bent on converting Jews to one of the many brands of what is essentially ‘Christian’, even though some Messianic movements swear blind they are ‘different’. The benefit of the equating is that a survey of the Jewish Scriptures shows the ‘aleph tav’ (את) or Jesus/ Yeshua is bouncing of every page of the Jewish Scriptures. Many in the Christian and Messianic movements at this point are quite happy to say “see there is your proof for Jesus/ Yeshua” and take this ‘fact’ as a given.

The ‘aleph tav’ (את) however, is a Hebrew grammatical sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative. A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of a verb or shows the result of the action. It answers the question “What?” or “Whom?” after an action verb. An action verb with a direct object is called a transitive verb. Going to the very beginning:

בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1

The ‘aleph tav’ highlighted in bold tells us who (G-d/ אֱלֹהִים) created (בָּרָא) the heavens (הַשָּׁמַיִם) and the earth (הָאָרֶץ). The grammatical of course is largely ignored and in fact does not appear hardly at all in most web sites of the Christian and Messianic movements. In view of the fundamental grammatical use of the ‘aleph tav’ no wonder the ‘aleph tav’ is found on every page of the Hebrew Scriptures, without ‘aleph tav’ one would not know who is doing what!

A flaw in the ‘aleph tav’ (את) revelations of the Christian and Messianic movements is that close to 2000 years of ‘Christian’ scholarship or Jewish Scholarship has not made any connection between the ‘aleph tav’ (את) and the Alpha (Α) and the Omega (Ω). Strangely, the Christian and Messianic movements have not as of yet made use of Jewish sources with respect to the Hebrew aleph bet (אב) and its deeper meanings. A source for the deeper meaning of the Hebrew aleph bet (אב) may be found in the Talmud in Shabbos 104a:

The Rabbis told R. Joshua b. Levi: Children have come to the Beth Hamidrash and said things the like of which was not said even in the days of Joshua the son of Nun. [Thus:] aleph bet (אב) [means] ‘learn wisdom [aleph binah]…..
Tav (ת) [for] emet (אמת) [truth]: why are the letters of sheker (שקר) close together, whilst those of ‘emet are far apart? Falsehood is frequent, truth is rare. And why does falsehood [stand] on one foot, whilst truth has a brick-like foundation? I.e., each of the letters of sheker is insecurely poised on one leg (Shin (ש) was anciently written with a narrow pointed bottom) whereas those of, emet are firmly set, each resting on two ends, the mem (מ) too resting on a horizontal bar. Truth can stand, falsehood cannot stand.

The Christian and Messianic movements’ lack of use of Jewish sources with respect to the Hebrew aleph bet (אב) and its deeper meanings may well lie in the fact that many are insisting that the Hebrew aleph bet (אב) is not the same as it was anciently. Instead some Christian and Messianic movements insist on using what they say is the “Paleo script”. The ignorance and their use of the “Paleo script” often gets mixed with both the Phoenician script and/ the pictographic Proto-Canaanite script. What is often presented for aleph as the “Paleo script”, is the pictographic Proto-Canaanite script’s use of aleph, which is a bull or an ox and for the tav which looks like a multiplication sign (×). Without justification however, the tav often gets mysteriously rotated round forty five degrees to look like a cross (+). The rotation of tav to look like a cross cannot be supported anywhere in documented literature.

Of course to the Christian and Messianic movements the aleph tav now has great meaning (?), despite the inconsistency, failure to acknowledge the grammatical or lack of historical or traditional understanding of the aleph tav. With Jesus / Yeshua glasses on, for Christians and Messianics,  Jesus is the aleph tav: (lamb?) bull of God and cross respectively (for more ridiculous word pictures clickhere) and points once again to the gospel being painted on every page of the Hebrew Scriptures! In the case of the pictographic Proto-Canaanite script, no such script is attested, and illustrations of it are modern inventions (see “How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs”. Biblical Archaeology Review, Mar/Apr 2010).

Yet another Messianic mess!!

Developments (as of 18 July 2012)

Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, writes in Or Torah pg.35:

 It is known in the Kabbalistic literature that the letters of the Aleph-Beis were created first of all. Thereafter, by the use of the letters, the Holy One, Blessed is He, created all the worlds. This is the hidden meaning of the first phrase in the Torah, “In the beginning God created (את)”- that is God’s first act was to create the letters from aleph (א) to tav (ת).

In a recent attempt to jump on the bandwagon of the success of this blog, the Jewish Adventists via the BTV facebook page has mysteriously tried to create a spin on the Aleph Tav using their version of what Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch has said. The spin of course ignores Kabbalah, which they, like most other messianics and Christians hate and selectively ignore what may  be considered (from their perspective) to be the less than biblical idea of other worlds (even though their prophetess Ellen G White says there are other worlds). The spin still claims the non-existent link between the Greek Alpha Omega of the NT and the Aleph Tav of the Jewish Scriptures, applied to Jesus/ Yeshua. The spin also claims that their version has:

 One G-d that creates many things alone as opposed to the pagan concept that each thing is created by a god. Hence, the plurality of gods.

The reality is that Seventh day Adventists hold to the trinity and messianics to a godhead which are by their nature a plurality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God in three persons. The Son (Jesus) creates the world as confirmed by the NT. In contrast, Elohim of Gen 1:1, has plural morphological form in Hebrew, but it is used with singular verbs and adjectives in the Hebrew text when the particular meaning of the God of Israel (a singular deity) is traditionally understood. Thus the very first words of the Bible are breshit bara elohim, where bara ברא is a verb inflected as third person singular masculine perfect. If Elohim were an ordinary plural word, then the plural verb form bar’u בראו would have been used in this sentence instead.

An honest use of the words of Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, Adventist and messianics are unable to do because they would have to endorse the validity of Kabbalah and they would also have to consider that the Aleph Bet was created and of course according to the Adventists/ messianics and the NT, Jesus is God, so how could he be created?

Rabbinical sources always have deeper levels of meaning to a text. However, messianics fail to understand a problem with ‘messianic’ (mis)uses of rabbinic commentary. The problem is the (deliberate) rejection that each of the four levels (PARDES) of extended meaning of the text are entirely consistent within themselves and most importantly THE GENERAL RULE; that the extended meaning never contradicts the plain meaning of the text (Peshat). Peshat (פְּשָׁט) — “plain” (“simple”) or the direct meaning[1]. In the first instance, using the famous aleph tav (את), the plain meaning is the grammatical, where the aleph tav (את), tells us that G-d created the heavens and the earth. On an allegorical level G-d created the aleph bet and then used the created aleph bet to ‘speak’ the world into existence. There is no contradiction in the argument of the Rabbis in their use of the Sages in their commentary, just a selective lack on the messianics’ part as to how Jews have always read/ wrote their literature.


Ridiculous Word Pictures (by Nehemiah Gordon)

I have been asked to prove that Hebrew word-pictures are utter nonsense, that the pictures represent sounds and not ideas. I could point you to ANY grammar of the Hebrew language and it will confirm this. However, I would be happy to prove it. Take even the simplest example and you can see the word-pictures don’t work. Aleph-Bet [AV-father] = bull of the house > strong one of the house > father. Makes sense, right? The only problem is switch around the letters and you get Bet-Aleph [BA] = arrive, enter. Is that the bull entering the house? LOL!

The biggest problem with the word-pictures is they are entirely arbitrary. You can make them say whatever you want them to say. The most ludicrous word-picture I have ever heard is that if you read Yod-He-Vav-He backwards, you get “Behold the nail, behold the hand”. Now why in the world would you read it backwards?! On top of that, Vav actually means “hook”, but “hook” does not fit the theology of those creating word-pictures, so messianics imbue it with the meaning “nail”. This is a major flaw of the word-pictures.

To make word-pictures work messianics imbue each letter with numerous meanings. Originally, the Hebrew letters were pictures that represented sounds, not ideas. The Hebrew letters were pictures of one simple thing. However, look at any modern list of word-pictures and you will find all kinds of meanings attached to each letter that have no basis in reality.

handI created a word-picture myself of the name Yeshua using these lists published by some of the top teachers in the Hebrew Roots movement: Yod – hand; Shin – tooth, destruction; bet – house, became man; ayin – eye, judgment. This is utterly absurd because where do you get Shin meaning “destruction” or Ayin meaning “judgment”?hand Where in the entire Hebrew language do you get Bet meaning “Became man”? However, I don’t need to prove my case, I can just neatly copy the meanings from the lists published by other people who are “experts” in word-pictures. Based on these brilliant teachers we can safely say that Yeshua means: “The hand of destruction that became man to bring judgment.” If we really want to get into the Sod level of interpretation, we can point out that Shin is the first letter in “Satan” and conclude that Yeshua really is: “The hand of Satan that became man to bring judgment.” Is this totally offensive not to mention utterly ridiculous? That’s what “behold the nail, behold the hand” sounds like to Jews! In fact, if you want to guarantee that a Jew will either laugh at you or be offended, tell him Yod-He-Vav-He is really a cipher for Jesus because if you read it BACKWARDS it means, “Behold the nail, behold the hand.” Now prove to me that Yeshua does not mean “The hand of destruction that became man to bring judgment”.


1. Abaye asked R. Dimi — others state, R. Awia, — others again state, R. Joseph [asked] R. Dimi — and others state, R. Awia whilst others state, Abaye [asked] R. Joseph: What is R. Eliezer’s reason for maintaining that they are ornaments for him? — Because it is written, Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, Thy glory and thy majesty (Psalm 45:4). R. Kahana objected to Mar son of R. Huna: But this refers to the words of the Torah?( ‘Thy sword’ is metaphorical for learning, which is Israel’s weapon. It is indicative of the peace-loving spirit of the Rabbis and their exaltation of Torah that they regarded it as axiomatic that such a verse could not be taken literally.) — A verse cannot depart from its plain meaning, he replied. R. Kahana said: By the time I was eighteen years old I had studied the whole Shas, yet I did not know that a verse cannot depart from its plain meaning, until to-day. What does he inform us? — That a man should study and subsequently understand.14 (Shabbos 63a)


4 thoughts on “Aleph Tav and Ridiculous Hebrew Word Pictures

  1. Once again, a great article. I am curious, however, where I can find the writing done by Nehemiah Gordon. I’ve tried Google to no avail. Has the pressure from messianics forced him to remove or recant his statments….however true they may be?


    • Thanks for preserving that bit by Nehemiah Gordon. The word pictures stuff really needs thorough debunking. Where on earth did they come up with their “proto-Canaanite”. Who first invented it. Was it Jeff Benner?


  2. Pingback: Yeshua the Worm!? | Menashe's Blog

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