Debit/Credit Payment

Credit/Debit/Bank Transfer

A Reader’s Point of View

January 3, 2007
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Like most of the [teaching] letters I read (I have been subscribing for about half a year now), I find it to be an excellent resource. As an Orthodox Jew, I am very pleased to know about this publication, which in my opinion is one of the best connectors between Jews and Christians, something that is so imperative today.

I had a few comments on this specific article:

In “Jot and Tittle” [a subsection in the letter], you bring the tiny stroke of the daled [a letter in the Hebrew alphabet] as opposed to the resh [another Hebrew letter] as an example of the small details of the Torah [Gen.–Deut.]. I found it interesting that you brought these two letters, as just this example is brought by our Sages (Tanhuma) to emphasize how important it is to be careful about details:

The well known verse “Hear O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One” ends with the letter daled (“Hashem Echad”). If that tittle is left off the last letter, the last part of that verse reads “Hashem Acher”—the Lord is Another. The difference between the foundation of belief and heresy is only a “tiny little stroke.”

Furthermore, you pointed out the utmost care taken by a ritual scribe to make sure that he makes no mistakes. This is not only to make sure that he fetches the best price for his handiwork. If a single letter in the Torah scroll is broken or mistaken, the entire Torah is ritually invalid! And there are 304,805 letters in a Torah, not counting the spaces, which are just as important! This means that if a scribal mistake is discovered during the course of the reading of the weekly portion, the entire congregation will have to wait until a different scroll is brought to the table, and if there is none, the ritual reading is stopped! And not only must the writing of the Torah be pristine, the sing-song reading must be flawless as well. This is especially difficult, as the Torah is written with no cantillation marks (musical notations), no punctuation marks, and even no vowels! Any mistake in the reading, however slight, will cause the attentive congregation to interrupt the reader and make him reread the section. If the mistake was at the beginning of the portion, but was only pointed out towards its end, the entire portion must be reread! As you alluded, such reverence for the Word is largely what kept the Jewish people alive through the millennia.

In your last paragraph, “Hebrew Letters Used As Numbers,” you once again bring an example which has (unplanned?) significance: “Every Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent…(example: wk=26).” While the later example you brought, chai = life, is perhaps better known, 26 is a much more significant number. It is the value of the letters yod, hei, vav, and hei, which spell out Jeho-vah, ineffable God’s unpronounced Name.

To conclude, I can only echo your own closing words, encouraging your readers to study the Bible, Hebrew, and Israel.

Photo Credit:

Latest News

Current Issue

View e-Dispatch

PDF Dispatch

Search Dispatch Articles

  • Order