Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Aleph & Tav - Hebrew Illiteracy

I will admit that there are times when leaving home that I wear a hat or something that doesn't make me the obvious Jew in the crowd. If I am out in public and look the Jewish part by wearing a kippah instead of a hat for example then I will be approached on occasion by individuals who feel compelled to speak to the Jew. Sometimes it's pleasant and sometimes unpleasant. A while back someone approached me with an idea that they apparently believed was a major revelation and no doubt they believed that if they shared this great epiphany with me then I would accept Christianity and convert. The chance to win a Jew to Jesus was apparently fairly exciting to them and this zeal overcame their ability to have tact as they approached me with an attitude of triumphalism. Their intentions were evident to me before they even spoke.
I loathe whenever this type of scenario occurs, not simply because it's annoying but the outcome is not what the other person hopes for and they subsequently depart from this encounter feeling dejected and downcast. These types of encounters are not good for building bridges between people and cause others to perpetuate the stereotype that Jews are stiff-necked and stubborn against God. Never mind that I don't initiate such encounters and am quite able to intelligently articulate what I believe and why I feel the way that I do.
In the case of our new friend who wants to share his revelation, which will surely convince all Jews of the Messianic claims of Jesus, he begins to explain that Jesus literally wrote his signature into the entirety of the "Old Testament." I know he wants me to ask him to explain and I know I cannot get out of this confrontation at this time so I indulge him and ask for his explanation. Feeling that he knows something that I am apparently oblivious to he begins to explain that Jesus stated that he was the "Alpha and Omega" in the Christian Bible. Afterwards he begins to explain his theory of an Aramaic "New Testament" and how the "Alpha and Omega" statement equates to the "Aleph and Tav" of the Hebrew alphabet. His assertion is that since Jesus is the "Alef and Tav" and the Alef and Tav appears throughout the Hebrew Bible then Jesus obviously is concealed thousands of times in the Hebrew Bible. An example of this is in Genesis 1:1 where the "Aleph and Tav," pronounced as "et," appears twice in the Hebrew language. Thus Jesus appears in the very beginning of the Bible.
After briefly explaining his Hebrew revelation I have this strong desire to chuckle at his appalling lack of ignorance concerning Hebrew linguistics but I refrain as I don't wish to be rude at this point. I respond to his claims by first explaining to him that the "Aleph and Tav" serves as the sign of the direct object in Hebrew and appears thousands of times in the Hebrew Bible. The word is not translated into English because it is not a word at all rather it equates to a grammatical rule or indicator. Its function is to indicate what the verb is acting on.
As I am explaining the linguistics of the "et" I could see that he was uninterested in this Hebrew lesson. He was more concerned with the allegory of the "Aleph and Tav" that he received as a revelation than the rules of proper grammar. I decided to divert the subject to focus on the

implications of his assertion. This would be the most simplistic way to communicate the absurdity of this man's ideology and it would endanger his belief system and turn the object of his worship (Jesus) into something that he finds appalling.

I gave this man an example of another verse in the Hebrew wherein the word "et" appears:
"And Adam knew “et” his wife, Eve” (Gen. 4:1)"
According to the same application of this perceived analogy of the "Alef and Tav" Jesus is having a threesome with Adam and Eve. The text clearly says that the "Aleph and Tav" was in the middle of this intimate escapade. I asked the man which he would prefer: the proper rules of grammar or that Jesus is in the middle of this group orgy?
There are many other verses that when read in light of this man's revelation will produce some very bizarre effects. It’s a harsh lesson but it gets the point across and my hope is that people will learn from their mistakes and not try and pretend to know something of Hebrew when they are entirely clueless. It is common for people to subscribe to ridiculous ideas simply because someone told them that it's apparent in another language. It's easy to promote mysterious Hebrew concepts to people who are entirely ignorant of Hebrew and many religious cults have been propagated on the ignorance of the laity and intellectual laziness of their leaders.