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A Bit o' Hebrew Learning Here

Heart Of My Heart is now an honest-to-goodness seminary student.  YAY!  She is taking Biblical Hebrew as her language, and I'm sitting in on class (auditing) with her.  (Yes, I chose not to do the heavy lifting of being tested on my ability/or to earn a grade; Greek was challenging enough). 

We know that our English language uses the "Alphabet," which originates from the first two letters of the Greek Alphabet; Alpha and Beta.  Hebrew also has the "Alephbet" as they are the first two letters of the Hebrew Alephbet; Aleph and Bet.  The Hebrew alephbet consists of 22 consonants and no vowels.  The vowels are dots and dashes added above and below the consonants.

The fun fact of the day for me today came as we chugged through the alphabet:  Two characters ~ the 'tittle' and the dagesh, along with the letter Yod ~ have a scriptural reference in the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

"For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all in accomplished." ~ Matt 5:18 (NRSV).

A 'tittle' for us today is a small written or printed stroke or dot, indicating there are omitted letters in a word.  Our common understanding is represented in words such as "isn't" or "can't."  But In Biblical Hebrew, when writing the specific letters, horizontal lines which extend beyond vertical lines are referred to as a 'tittle.'  They are important to distinguishing one letter from another.  The 'dagesh' is a dot, which means "emphasis."  Finally, Yod is the smallest Hebrew letter altogether - which looks like a small 'jot.'

So, to be a bit more clear, we hark back to the King James Version of The Holy Bible: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." ~ Matt 5:18 (KJV)

Pretty cool nugget there!  Most Biblical scholars agree this verse suggests the Torah remained in force among Jewish Christians in Matthew's church.  

This may be fun to learn a little something about Hebrew, hopefully without my head exploding.  Because there's still that reading from right to left that really confounds my brain!  Hopefully I'll pick it up soon enough without too many headaches.