Only logged in members can reply and interact with the post.
Join Similar Worlds today »
Top | Newest First | Oldest First
Actually if we want to get technical, בראשית means "When began..." Genesis 1:1, properly translated, should read, "When God began to create the Heaven and the Earth..." (Well, really "When began God..." But you get the idea.) So if we want to get technical, the first verse doesn't suggest that it's the beginning of the story.
Carazaa · F
@ShadowfireTheSarcastic Actually in original Hebrew each letter has a word meaning, and each letter 22 letters has a number meaning, and we read from right to left
[b][big]בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית [/big][/b]
Carazaa · F

[b][big]בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית- [/big][/b]

What does the first word in the Bible mean by each letter? Here is the Hebrew Aplhabet

[b]The Meaning of the Hebrew Alphabet[/b]

🔼The Hebrew Alphabet per Character

Letter Name MeaningPost-Biblical Numerical Value
א Aleph
The root אלף ('aleph) is rare and means to learn (Proverbs 22:25, Job 15:5, 33:33, 35:11). The identical word אלף ('alep) means to produce thousands (Psalm 144:13 only). Derivation אלף means oxen (the connection lies perhaps in guidance or to team up). Many suggest that the letter reminds of the head of an ox. 1
ב Beth
The word בית (bayit) means house in the sense of a building, but also household; wife and children. This word also serves to mean House Of The Lord, or Temple. As preposition the letter means 'in'. As such it is the first letter of the Bible. The first word of the Bible comes from the name of the 20th letter: rosh. 2
ג Gimel
The verb גמל (gamal) means to deal, or recompense in the sense of benefitting from. Derivation גמל (gamal) means camel. It is said that the letter reminds of a camel's neck. 3
ד Daleth
From root דלה (dala), draw (water). The word דלת (delet) specifically denotes a swinging door of a building. Since doors most commonly opened inward, this 'thing-you-draw' is named after a going out of a house, or letting someone else in.
Other derivations are: דל (dal), door; דלה (dala), door; דלי (dali), bucket; דליות (daliyot), branch, bough.
Because a door in Bible times hinged in the upper corner, it is said that the letter daleth reminds of that. 4
ה He

The spelling and thus the meaning of this word is uncertain. Klein spells הא (he), meaning lo! behold! Fuerst holds to הי, and thinks it's a part of the name for heth; letter 8.
As prefix this letter serves as the definite particle ה (he), meaning "the" but which is used far less than our word the, and specifically when an emphasis or reference to a previous statement is made. 5
ו Waw
The word וו (waw) means hook or peg, and is strictly reserved for the hooks/ pegs that kept the curtains of the tabernacle in place. It is said that the shape of the letter ו (waw) reminds of a hook or peg. 6
ז Zayin
Meaning debated. The word זין does not occur in Scriptures. Klein suggests that the form of the zayin represents a hand weapon, and explains that zyn means arm, ornament, to arm, to adorn (no references to Scriptures). Fuerst goes after the assumed root זוז (zwz) of the verb זיז (ziz), moving things (like animals) and מזוזה (mezuza), Mezuzah or doorpost. The identical root זוז (zwz) yields זיז (ziz), meaning abundance, fullness.
Another word of interest is זון (zun), to feed. 7
ח Heth
Meaning again unknown. According to Fuerst it means fence in, destroy. Fuerst also thinks it has to do with a fence, but it could equally possible be the symbol of stacking stones. Note that the ת (taw) in pre-Biblical Hebrew often became the ה (he) in Biblical times, which brings to mind the verb חיה (haya), meaning to live. The derived noun חיות (hayyut) means "of livelihood". 8
ט Teth
The origin of the teth is a bit of a mystery. Klein derives from טות (twh), spin, and renders teth to knot, knot together, to twist into each other, to interweave. The letter teth indeed looks like a little vortex or spiral. 9
י Yod
One of two regular words for hand (for the other see the 11th letter). The noun יד (yad) denotes the hand, typically not as outstretched, but rather as holding something or being a fist. The word is synonymous with power or might; to fall in one's hands. It's typical that the alphabet's smallest letter came to mean power, but perhaps its shape reminded of a little fist. As postfix, this letter י (yod) forms a possessive, and as prefix it creates a third person singular imperfect. 10
ך Kaph
One of two regular words for hand (the other being the 10th letter). The noun כף (kap) denotes the hand as outstretched, asking and weak. The word basically encompasses anything that is hollow or outstretched in order to receive something: dish, plate, etc. The letter kap is written ך when it occurs at the end of a word, and כ when it occurs at the beginning or half-way a word.

As a prefix, the letter כ (kaph) expresses comparison ("like" as in the name Mi-ka-el, what's God like?), and as postfix it governs pronouns of the second person singular. Note the graceful transition between the self-oriented fist of the letter yod and the other-oriented open-hand of the letter kaph. 20
ל Lamed
The verb למד (lamad) means learn or teach. Derivative תלמיד (talmid) means scholar (hence Talmud), and derivative מלמד means ox goad. The letter lamed is said to look like such a device, and when Jesus says to Saul, "it is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 26:14) He may hint at Saul's learning rather than coercion. 30
ם Mem
מים (mayim) means waters in the sense of a larger body (sea, ocean). It is suggested that the letter mem looks like a wave.

The letter mem is written ם when it occurs at the end of a word, and מ when it occurs at the beginning or half-way a word. 40
ן Nun
The verb נון (nun) means propagate, increase. Derivative נין means offspring, posterity. The letter is often said to mean and resemble a fish, but the word nun is not used as such in the Bible. instead, the word for fish comes from another verb which means multiply, increase: דגה (daga).

The letter nun is written ן when it occurs at the end of a word, and נ when it occurs at the beginning or half-way a word. 50
ס Samekh
The verb סמך (samak) means lean upon, support, uphold. It is the verb that is used in the phrase "laying on of hands." 60
ע Ayin
The word עין (ayin) means eye in all regular senses, but also as means of expression (knowledge, character, etc.). The word עין (ayin) means spring or fountain. The eye is one of four bodily "fountains," the other three being mouth, skin and urethra (and only the mouth is not supposed to produce water outwardly). Transpiration releases the body of excessive heat; urine evaluates toxins, and the eye produces water commonly when grief or pain is processed. All have to do with cleansing or purification. 70
ף Pe
The word פה (peh) means mouth, but is often synonymous with speech. With a little good will one may recognize a face with a mouth in the shape of this letter.

The letter peh is written ף when it occurs at the end of a word, and פ when it occurs at the beginning or half-way a word. 80
ץ Tsadhe

Klein derives from the verb צוד (sud), to hunt, and states that צדי means fish hook (no Biblical occurrence). Another name for this letter is צדיק (saddiq), just, righteous, from the verb צדק (sadeq), to be just or righteous.

The letter tsadhe is written ץ when it occurs at the end of a word, and צ when it occurs at the beginning or half-way a word. 90
ק Qoph
This word occurs in Scriptures only as תקופה (tequpa), meaning a coming around, or circuit of space or time. Klein reports that the root verb קוף (qwp) covers a circular motion and that it also serves to denote the ear of an axe or needle, or the back of the head. BDB relates it to נקף (naqap), go around, compass. An amusing other use of this name is as קוף (qop), meaning ape (1 Kings 10:22); probably a loan word. 100
ר Resh
The very common word ראשׁ (rosh) basically means head, but is used to indicate whatever leads or comes first: captain, summit, cap stone. Preceded by the particle beth and in the form ראשׁית (resheet), first, beginning, best, it is the first word of the Bible: בראשׁית (Bresheet), "in the beginning".
The word ראשׁ is also used to indicate a certain plant (called head) that yields poison: (rosh), gall, venom. HAW and BDB note that this usage is always figurative: Deuteronomy 32:32, Psalm 69:21.
A third usage of this word is ראשׁ (resh), poverty, from the root רושׁ (rush), be poor. 200
שׁ Sin

As derivation from the verb שׁנן (shanan), sharpen, the word שׁן (shen) means tooth or ivory. Both the verb and the noun are used primarily in a literal sense: sharpening of swords and arrows, but sometimes figuratively: the sharpening of one's tongue (saying sharp, mean words) or the sharpening of one's mind (Deuteronomy 6:7). The noun is famous for its part in the lex talionis, the law of retaliation; a soul or a soul, an eye for an eye (16th letter), a tooth for a tooth (21st letter), a hand for a hand (10th letter), a foot for a foot, a branding for a branding, a stripe for a stripe (Exodus 21:24). The letter thanks its name perhaps to its looking like a row of teeth. 300
ת Taw
תו (taw) means mark, and its verb תוה (tawa), scribble, limit, is probably derived from the noun. HAW suggests that the more ancient form of this letter looked like an X, a shape which lends itself easily as a general mark. The word תאוה (ta'awa) means boundary (that which is marked). The verb תוה (tawa) is used only once in the meaning of pain or wound (Psalm 78:41). 400

Post Comment