My name is Yahadut Reshimat Ha-Ma’amarim Be-Mada but you can call me Jerry. My professional studies have centered around the use of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet in the Torah. Aleph – which resembles a Roman “N” – has lines which point both up to heaven and down to earth. There’s also a diagonal line which represents the need to combine an understanding between the interdependent relationship between both. Previous stories on this blog represent textual interpretations of the use of Aleph in the Pentateuch. The stories you might have previously read were teased out from the context of the letter’s use. A phonemic exegesis. 
   Here’s today’s story based on an Aleph used in Genesis 5:3.


Letter Perfect



    In the beginning – just after a late breakfast of unleavened bread- the Scholar sat down to recreate the Torah, replacing people with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In this new version Adam and Eve were replaced by the letters Aleph and Beth and the serpent was the third letter Gimel. The Scholar found that the shape of these characters fit perfectly with the people they replaced so that Beth – formerly Eve – had no difficulty picking the forbidden fruit from the tree as her shape – a sort of inverted “C”- gave her a long arm needed to reach up to the tree. After months of work, the Scholar started to think in nothing but letters. When he closed his eyes the visual traces of the world lost color and content and shrank to a series of lines and shapes. These lines scrambled about to form letters so that the scholar saw nothing but a kind of scrabble board in his mind’s eye. After twenty years of work – at which point he’d translated the first two books of the Pentateuch – he started to see the world as letters. The outline of a house in the distance became Chet, the eighth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Its square windows became Mem, the Hebrew letter that resembled a square. In this way, the Scholar started reading the world anew, ascribing names to things depending on shadows, angles and the combination of things he was perceiving at the moment. Until finally at the age of 83 he passed quietly one night. In the morning, his cleaning woman found that his tiny apartment was empty. When she lifted the sheets of his bed, however, she was shocked to see nothing but tiny letters burnt into the white sheets. Here was the Scholar’s description of death. Sadly, she was an illiterate and superstitious woman and the sheets were disposed of immediately.

Advertisements