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The 2nd letter of the Aleph-Beis is the Bet

It has the sound of b when you see a dagesh – a dot – in de middle of the letter. It has the sound of v without the dagesh.

There are two dots under the bet. These are called tseree and represent an ee sound. ֵ

We saw this letter in the previous blog in the letter Peh. The mouth that can bless, and the mouth that can curse. A mouth that can speak good or bad. The Bet represents duality and therefore has the gematria value of two.

The name Bet is related to the word Beit – בַּיִת which means house.

The second letter of the word is the yud – י Under the yud you can see a small dot. ִ That dot is called the chireq and represents an i – sound.

The third letter is the tav and has a t – sound.

That is one of the reasons why the Torah begins with the Bet בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית -to show that G-d’s greatest blessing to us is that He created – a world – a house – for us to live in.

The letter bet consists of three stripes, a roof, a wall and a floor.

He blessed us with a roof. Because of this we do not know what is above our world. With a right wall. Because of this we do not know what was before our world. A solid floor. So that we cannot fall from this world, have a solid foundation.

The left side of our house is open, the future is in our hands.

We make our house a safe house, with a fourth wall for our safety, when we bless G-d forever.

Psalm 89:53 says:

Blessed is G-d forever, amen and amen.

And this we must do with all our hearts Meaning with or evil and good inclination. We see this in the Hebrew word for heart : לֵבָב

אוֹדֶ֣ה יי בְּכׇל־*לִבִּ֑י אֲ֝סַפְּרָ֗ה כׇּל־נִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ

I will praise You, L-RD, with all my heart;

Tehilim – Psalms 9:2

We bless G-d by reading Torah, by praying and by charity.

When we learn Torah – the commandments, the 7 Noahide laws – we have a part in the world to come. In this we also see the 2: we live in this world and in the world to come.

We are now familiar with the: ב א ל פ (ף) and with the: ִ ּ ֶ ָ ַ

and can now read the following words, among others:

Ester 2:7

וַיְהִ֨י אֹמֵ֜ן אֶת־הֲדַסָּ֗ה הִ֤יא אֶסְתֵּר֙ בַּת־דֹּד֔וֹ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין לָ֖הּ אָ֣ב וָאֵ֑ם

“He was foster father to Hadassah—that is, Esther—his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother.”

Exodus 10:1

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יי אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה

“Then G-d said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh”.

Above the aleph you can see a small dot. This is called the cholem and represents an o sound. ֹ

*Tehillim 9:2

אוֹדֶ֣ה יי בְּכׇל־*לִבִּ֑י אֲ֝סַפְּרָ֗ה כׇּל־נִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ

“I will praise You, L-RD, with all my heart;”

We see here in the bet another function of the dagesh. In this case, the dagesh represents a doubling of the letter. So even though we only see one bet, there are actually two.

This dagesh is called a dagesh forte. Unlike the dagesh that we have come to know, which is called a dagesh lene.

Why the tseree – the two dots – under the lamed changes into a chireq – 1 dot – we will learn later.

Learn more about the Bet

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources: The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, Grammatica vh Bijbels Hebreeuws by E. Lettinga, Grammar For Biblical Hebrew by C. Seow, ChabadVideo

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