The Roots of Biblical Hebrew

There is growing evidence, as I indicated in my last post, that Biblical Hebrew is the hypothesized proto-language from which all other languages devolved. Regardless of whether this is the case, it is clear that Biblical Hebrew cannot be understood the way modern languages are. The scholarship of Fabre d’Olivet in 1815, The Hebraic Tongue Restored, has been reinforced by the more recent work of Dr. Mozeson, a Hebraic scholar at Yeshiva University, The Word, underlining that the basis of Hebrew is a polaric series of signs, called roots, the signs themselves reflecting, much as mathematics, an innate structure of the universe, and essentially hard-wired into human consciousness independent of sensory experience, such that languages devolved rather than evolved. Such signs and roots are meaningful within themselves, that is apodictic, and also identical with universal ideas (Plato).

Hebrew is also the only known language wherein each sign is also a number, but in the sense that this provides a somewhat more esoteric means of understanding the combination of signs into roots and roots into words, as developed in the oral tradition known as the Kabalah (or variously, Qabalah), which has been revealed in its clearest and scientific sense in the works of Carlos Suares (The Cipher of Genesis – see the website http://www.psyche.com/psyche/psyche.html).

Meanings of the Signs

The following meanings are derived from the works of d’Olivet and Suares:

א

A – “…sign of power and of stability. The ideas that it expresses are those of unity and of the principle by which it is determined.” (D’Olivet)

“Aleph א, no 1, is the unthinkable life-death, abstract principle of all that is and all that is not.” (Suares)

ב

B. P. – Virile and paternal sign: image of active and interior action. (D’Olivet)

Bayt ב (or Vayt), no. 2, is the archetype of all “dwellings”, of all containers: the physical support without which nothing is.

Everything that exists is the conditioning of life and the life of the conditioning…Each germ of life has an envelope, which derives its movement from the great cosmic force of resistance to the life which is surging up from within…This whole duality of existence – and of our own thought – is conveyed by no. 2. (Suares, p. 66)

ג

G. – This character … is the organic sign; … and of all ideas orginating from the corporeal organs or from their action.

Ghimmel ג, no. 3, is the organic movement of every Bayt animated by Aleph.

ד
D. – Sign of nature, divisible and divided: it expresses every idea proceeding from the abundance born of division.

Dallet ד, no. 4, is physical existence, as response to life, of all that, in nature, is organically active with Ghimmel. Where the structure is inorganic Dallet is its own resistance to destruction.

ה
H. He. – Life and every abstract idea of being.

Hay ה, no. 5, is the archetype of universal life.

ו
OU. W. – …image of the most profound, the most inconceivable mystery, the image of the knot which unites, or the point which separates nothingness and being. It is the universal, convertible sign which makes a thing pass from one nature to another [cosmic superimposition]; communicating on the one side with the sign of light and of spiritual sense ו which is itself more elevated, and connecting on the other side, in its degeneration, with the sign of darkness and of material sense ע which is itself still more abased.

Vav (or Waw) ו, no. 6, expresses the [male] fertilizing agent, that which impregnates. It is the direct result of Hay upon Dallet.

ז

Z.C.S. – Demonstrative sign: abstract image of the link which unites things: symbol of luminous refraction.

Zayn ז, no. 7, is the achievement of every vital impregnation: this number opens the field of every possible possibility.

ח
H. HE. CH. – This character, intermediary between ה and כ, the former designating life, absolute existence; the latter, relative life, assimilated existence, is the sign of elementary existence: it offers the image of a sort of equilibrium, and is attached to ideas of effort, labour, and of normal and of legislative action.

Hhayt ח, no. 8, is the sphere of storage of all undifferentiated energy, or unstructured substance. It expresses the most unevolved state of energy, as opposed to its achieved freedom in Zayn.

ט
T. – Sign of resistance and of protection…link between ד and ת, which are both much more expressive.

Tayt ט, no. 9, as archetype of the primeval female energy, draws its life from Hhayt and builds it gradually into structures.

י

I. – Image of potential manifestation: of spiritual duration, of eternity of time and of all ideas relating thereunto: remarkable character in its vocal nature, but which loses all of its faculties in passing to the state of consonant, wherein it depicts no more than a material duration, a sort of link as ו, or of movement as ש.

Whereas Aleph (1) is the beat, or pulsation life-death-life-death, Yod (10) is its projection in temporal continuity. So Yod (in Hebrew: the hand), is the opposite of Aleph, its partner playing against it the game wihout which nothing would be.

In terms of number signs, the next 9 signs repeat the first nine, but as manifestations of a greater physicality or “conditioned existence” (Suares).

כ
C.CH. – Assimilative sign: it is a reflective and transient life, a sort of mould which receives and makes all forms. It is derived from the character ח which precedes itself from the sign of absolute life ה. Thus holding, on the one side, to elementary life, it joins to the signification of the character ח, that of the organic sign ג, of which it is, besides, only a kind of reinforcement.

Whereas Bayt (2), the archetype of all containers, has its roots in the cosmic resistance of life, Kaf (20) – in Hebrew, the hollow of the hand – is ready to receive all that comes

ל
L. – Sign of expansive movement: it is applied to all ideas of extension, elevation, occupation, possession. As final sign, it is the image of power derived from elevation.

Lammed–… the controlled connecting agent Lammed (30)… [this is tied to the idea of the Holy Spirit, or in Greek, pneuma or breath – and indeed, when multiplied to the next level 300 or Sheen, equates to the holy breath]

מ
M. – Maternal and female sign: local and plastic sign: image of exterior and passive action. This character used at the end of words, becomes the collective sign ם. In this state, it develops the being in indefinite space, or it comprises, in the same respect, all beings of an identical nature.

… the physical resistance of structures, Dallet (4) finds its purveyor in the maternal waters, Mem (40), where all life originates.

נ
N. – Image of produced or reflected being: sign of individual and of corporeal existence. As final character it is the augmentative sign ן, and gives to the word which receives it all the individual extension of which the expressed thing is susceptible.
…the universal life, Hay (5) is condensed in individual existences as Noun (50)…
ס
S – sign of circular movement and circumferential limits; link (demonstrative sign) ז reinforced and turned back on itself.

Waw (6) is the male agent of fertility, Sammekh (60) the female.

ע
H. WH. – Sign of material meaning. It is the sign ו considered purely in its physical relations. When the vocal sound ע , degenerates in its turn into consonant, it becomes the sign of all that which is bent, false, perverse and bad.

Zayn (7) as an opening towards all possible possibilities has its source and its vision in Ayn (70), which is the word for “eye” in Hebrew.

פ
PH. F. Sign of speech and of that which is related to it. This character serves as link between the characters ב and ו, B and V, when the latter has passed into state of consonant; it participates in all their significations, addings its own expression which is the emphasis.

Hhayt-Pay-Phay in finals (8.80.800) חפף: in every sphere of the emanation, from the densest to the most rareified essence, these numbers stand for the primordial substance, the unfathomed reserve of undifferentiated, unstructured energy.

צ
TZ. – Final and terminative sign being related to all ideas of scission, of term, solution, goal. Placed at the beginning of words, it indicates the movement which carries toward the term of which it is the sign: placed at the end, it marks the same term where it has tended… It is derived from the character ם and from the character ז, and it marks equally scission for both.

Tayt-Tsadde-Tsadde in finals (9.90.900) טצץ: these ideograms express a progression ascending from the simplest and most primitive cell (or female structural energy) up to the transfigured symbols of womanhood, social and mythical.

ק
Q. K. – Sign eminently compressive, astringent and trenchant; image of the agglomerating or repressive form. It is the character כ wholly materialized and is applied to objects purely physical. For this is the progression of the signs: ה, universal life; ח, elementary existence, the effort of nature; כ, assimilated life holding the natural forms; ק material existence giving the means of forms.

The Qof (100) is the most difficult symbol to understand. It includes Aleph in its principle, yet acting through its projection, against itself, and thereby being cosmically deathless.

ר
R. – Sign of all movement proper, good or bad: original and frequentive sign: image of the renewal of things as to their movement.

Rayesh (200), the cosmic container of all existence, has its roots in the intense organic movement of the universe.

ש
SH. – Sign of relative duration and of movement therewith connected. This character is derived from the vocal sound י, passed into the state of consonant; it joins to its original expression the respective significations of the characters זand ס.
the universal Sheen (300), mythically considered to be the “spirit” or “breath” of God.

ת
TH. – Sign of reciprocity: image of that which is mutual and reciprocal. Sign of signs. Joining to the abundance of the character ד, to the force of the resistance and protection of the character ט, the idea of perfection of which it is itself the symbol.
Tav (400) is the exaltation of the entire cosmic existence in its utmost capacity to resist to life-death.

The next set of letter-numbers derives from the placing of certain letter-numbers as final signs in a complex (word) to complete a series.

ך

Hay-Noun-Kaf in finals (5.50.500) חנך: the universal life, Hay (5) is condensed in individual existences as Noun (50) and is exalted cosmically as Kaf (500) in terminals.

ם
Waw-Sammekh-Mem in finals (6.60.600) וסם: Waw (6) is the male agent of fertility, Sammekh (60) the female. Mem when in terminals (600) is the cosmic achievement of fruitfulness both in the intelligent or immaterial part of man and in the flesh. In Hebrew, Waw maintains its character grammatically as copulative or connecting agent.

ן
Zayn-Ayn-Noun in finals (7.70.700) זען: Zayn (7) as an opening towards all possible possibilities has its source and its vision in Ayn (70), which is the word for “eye” in Hebrew. It is exalted in Noun (70); this number expresses the very principle contended for in the interplay of energies throughout the universe, the principle of indetermination in which life itself is at stake.

ף

Hhayt-Pay-Phay in finals (8.80.800) חפף: in every sphere of the emanation, from the densest to the most rareified essence, these numbers stand for the primordial substance, the unfathomed reserve of undifferentiated, unstructured energy.

ץ
Tayt-Tsadde-Tsadde in finals (9.90.900) טצץ: these ideograms express a progression ascending from the simplest and most primitive cell (or female structural energy) up to the transfigured symbols of womanhood, social and mythical.

From the above, we can see a progression of different state of being from principle to form, and also an interplay between different powers, forces and energies such that they produce a more exalted state of being.

First, the Aleph-Bet of the signs provides itself a profound insight into the origin and unfolding of existence and life:

Aleph (1) is being in principle, containing the archetype within it of the polarity of life-death, being-not being. Bayt (2) then provides the archetype of universal form, namely the germ within an envelope, the polarity of the radial (centrifugal-expansive) and spherical (centripetal-containing) forces. Aleph and Bayt themselves provide a polarity of centrifugal and centripetal forces, acting together dynamically to produce the archetype of organic movement – Ghimmel (3). This is the ABC of the universe. As the children’s verse goes, “Do you know your ABC?”

The action of ABC (Aleph-Bayt-Ghimmel) leads to the creation of nature in principle – Dallet (4). At this point, the principle of life universal – Hay(5) – is added to nature, resulting in the appearance of the first aspect of the generative power of nature – the power to impregnate (seminal, masculine) – Waw (6). From this power of impregnation, “births” or results are produced and the principle of this resultant action is Zayn (7), which then sets up the transition to elementary existence – Hayt (8), which in turn leads to the activation of the other side of the generative power, namely the feminine gestational power (resistance and protection) – Tayt (9).

At this point, Time is introduced to the context of Space (giving us dimensionality), as Aleph (1) – principle of life-death – now manifests as Yod (10) – existence in time, duration. As a result, Kaf (20), transient life, appears, giving us the archetype of all containers for individual existence in time, based on the pulsation of life-death. As a result, organic movement in space – Ghimmel (3) – becomes expansion in space-time – a movement of increasing power (elevation) and occupying or possessing of the extent of space-time – Lammed (30). This movement is met by transformed nature (Dallet – 4), that is, by Mem (40), the gestational (exterior, passive to the interior, active power of Bayt 2) crucible of organic life, that is nature as principle of endless forms and cycles. This then results in individual temporal existences – Noun (50). Thus, the seminal, radial power in principle (Waw 6) is converted to the gestational, spherical power of Sammekh (60), that is, of circular movements and limits, resulting in the potential for appearance of endless physical forms – Zayn (70). From this results primordial substance, initially undifferentiated, but containing the potential for endless differentiation – Pay (80), which is then progressively unfolded in all its possible, and to its highest (Final Tsadde 900) forms by the gestational power, which limits, circumscribes and gives birth – Tsadde (90).

The higher, final forms express the most exalted, final destination or result of each of the movements of powers, forces and energies.

1-10-100: In the case of the central issue of existence – Aleph (1) – as the principle of life-death pulsation or polarity, is transformed into existence in time (duration) – Yod (10) – and then further undergoes a transformation into physical form – Qof (100), all due to the very polarity of life-death, expansion-compression, centrifugal-centripetal contained in Aleph in potentia of being.

2-20-200: Bayt (2), the archetype of all containers, results in transient forms for life, Kaf (20), and Rayesh (200), is the exalted container of all existence, encompassing all organic movement.

3-30-300: Living (organic) movement in principle –Ghimmel (3) – is transformed into the expansive, powerful fulfilling of the universe – Lammed (30), with its most exalted form becoming that of Sheen (300), the veritable divine “breath” or spirit.

4-40-400: Nature in potentia – Dallet (4) – becomes the gestational power of nature – Mem (40); in its most exalted state, living nature is raised up so as to resist the powers of the pulsation of life-death – Tav (400). Dallet-Mem symbolizes life (= blood – DaM), whereas Mem-Tav (MeT) symbolizes death.

5-50-500: Another critical progression is that of life – Hay (5) – which goes from a state of potential or principle, to one of being condensed into individual forms – Noun (50) – and then further into final physical existence, its most exalted form – Final Kaf (500).

6-60-600: Waw (6) is the male agent of fertility, Sammekh (60) the female. Final Mem (600) is the cosmic achievement of fruitfulness both in the cognitive or immaterial part of man and in the flesh, such as in ADaM (Aleph-Dallet-Mem).

7-70-700: Zayn (7) as an opening towards all possible possibilities leads to manifestation in Ayn (70), which is the word for “eye” in Hebrew. It is exalted in Final Noun (700) which “expresses the very principle contended for in the interplay of energies throughout the universe, the principle of indetermination in which life itself is at stake.” (Suares)

8-80-800: The sequence Hayt-Pay-Phay expresses emanation, from the densest to the most rareified essence, the unfolding of primordial substance, the unfathomed reserve of undifferentiated, unstructured energy.

9-90-900: These ideograms – Tayt-Tsadde-Final Tsadde– express a progression ascending from the simplest and most primitive structured energy up to the transfigured form of life. It is the power of resistance to life-death pulsation (Aleph) that results in the highest and most exalted form of man (in terms of mind and consciousness).

This then is the code within Biblical Hebrew that we will use to interpret Genesis, but first we must look, in the next post, at the roots, which express a primordial polarity of forces.

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