About David Wilber
Author: David Wilber
Have you ever heard that Hebrew letters contain “pictographic meanings,” which can be decoded to reveal hidden messages? The idea is that the letters in the Hebrew alphabet were originally pictures. If you interpret the “ancient pictographic meanings” of each letter, you can discover deeper nuances of Hebrew words.
For instance, in a teaching series promised to “radically affect your understanding of the scriptures,” one teacher demonstrates how this interpretive methodology works:
The first two letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet are Aleph (א) and Bet (ב). Aleph means "strength, power, leader" and Bet means "house." Together, those two letters mean "the strength of the house." Furthermore, together, Aleph and Bet also spell the Hebrew word "Av," which means Father! Our Father is the "Strength of our House"!
Here is what you do to decode these secret messages encoded in Hebrew words: you recognize the “picture” represented by each Hebrew letter, then, when you put the “pictures” together, it reveals a message. Voilà!
As we see in the example above, since aleph was initially a picture of an ox head, it carries the meaning of “strength” (apparently because of the hard work the animal did, or so it is said). Bet was initially a picture of a house. Therefore, the hidden meaning encoded in the Hebrew word for father (av / אָב) is “the strength of the house.” Remarkably, when we submit our lives to our Father in heaven, He becomes the strength of our house, right? Or perhaps you could say that since the father of the family is the head of the household, he is the strength of the house!
There are all sorts of things you can contrive from this methodology. You can make words mean whatever you want! Who needs to learn Hebrew? Astonishingly, the example above is on the milder end of this wild spectrum of imagination.
My favorite hidden message I’ve heard derived from Hebrew Word Pictures is that the name Yeshua contains a prophecy about how the Messiah will destroy the Illuminati. Indeed, Yeshua is spelled ישוע. Yod (י) is a picture of a hand. Shin (ש) is a picture of teeth and means “consume/destroy” (because teeth are what one uses to consume food?). Vav (ו) is a picture of a nail and means “establish” (nails are used to build or establish things?). Finally, ayin (ע) is a picture of an eye. Thus, Yeshua means “the hand that destroys the establishment of the eye.” And did you know that the Illuminati’s symbol is the “all-seeing eye”? Incredible!
While this interpretive methodology is trendy among fringianics, scholars universally reject it. Semitic scholars Dr. Michael Heiser and Dr. Michael Brown call it “nonsense” and even “dangerous false teaching.” No scholarly lexicon defines Hebrew words according to the alleged pictographic meanings of the Hebrew letters. Nowhere do you find this methodology in any ancient Jewish writings (DSS, Targums, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, etc.) or rabbinic literature (Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, etc.). This idea just pops up out of nowhere in the past thirty years or so.
So, why do scholars universally reject the idea of Hebrew Word Pictures? Well, for one, the premise of the methodology is entirely bogus.
As Dr. Brown explains:
The ancient Hebrew script (called Paleo Hebrew) which was used in writing the earliest books of the Bible is simply an alphabet and has no pictographic meaning […] Any linguist familiar with the material knows that by the time a written language develops into an alphabet, it is no longer pictographical. In other words, the letters no longer stand for pictures. They only stand for sounds. 
The development of the alphabet simplified written communication significantly. Pictographic communication needed thousands of symbols; an alphabet usually requires fewer than 30 symbols: “The genius of the alphabet was to isolate the most basic sounds used in a language (normally, between 20-30) and to find single symbols (the letters of the alphabet) to convey these sounds.”
In the Hebrew alphabet, out of hundreds of symbols, twenty-two were chosen to represent sounds based on the first syllable of the original picture meaning. Thus, the Hebrew letter bet came to represent the sound b. It no longer represented a house, only a sound.
In other words, even though the earliest forms of the letters that make up the Hebrew alphabet evolved from pictographs, the letters no longer maintained the meaning of the pictures when the Hebrew alphabet was developed. The letters no longer represented pictures, only sounds. Therefore, interpreting Hebrew words in the Bible according to the “pictographic meanings” of the letters is invalid.
Consider this: according to the logic behind the idea of Hebrew Word Pictures, English words can be “decoded” in the same way. As Dr. Brown explains:
Interestingly, the ancient Greeks also borrowed the ancient Phoenician alphabet, which was subsequently borrowed by the Romans, ultimately used in our English alphabet. So, the ancient Phoenician-Hebrew letter “Beth” is actually our English letter B, and its rounded form resembles its ancient form depicting a house.
This means that interpreting the “pictographic meaning” of Hebrew words makes as much sense as interpreting the “pictographic meaning” of English words. Are we going to start pulling random words out of Mark Twain’s novels and decoding prophecies?
Shamefully, I bought into this idea in my earlier days as a Messianic believer, and I know many others have as well. It’s time to let this flawed interpretive methodology die. I hope this article helps expose the problems with “Hebrew Word Pictures” so we all will stop profaning our Messiah’s name by our foolishness. Let’s focus on learning truth and making a real difference in the world for God’s glory.
Learn to Read Hebrew: The Alephbet
Welcome to CartoonHebrew.com, where we use obnoxiously primitive cartoons to teach you Hebrew in a fun, easy, and quick way!
Let's get started learning to read Hebrew!
Who is this site for?
Anyone who wants to read Hebrew! You'll learn very quickly, using silly pictures to remember the letters! You might pick up a few actual words of Hebrew, but the main thing is reading.
Hebrew is the traditional language of the Jewish people, and the official language of Israel. It's the language of almost all of the original bible or Tanakh, including the Torah, and also the language of Jewish daily prayer, which is why it's called the lashon hakodesh, or holy language.
There are other Jewish languages, including Yiddish, Aramaic, Ladino and others, but Hebrew's the really big deal with the most ancient history — and modern, too!
Is Hebrew Hard to Read?
Not really! It's just different. The good news is that Hebrew spelling is a lot more consistent than English. It's tricky because it's written in the opposite direction to English (right to left) and uses a totally different alphabet, called the Alephbet.
But that's where this site comes in: Try learning your first Hebrew letter!
Or if you want, learn more about the Hebrew Alephbet!
The ancient Hebrew alephbet has very little resemblence to the modern Hebrew alephbet, though the modern did evolve out of the ancient. The ancient twenty-two Hebrew letters were originally pictures of animals, tools or parts of the body.
The objective of this page is to teach the name, sound and meaning of each letter by associating it with common English words and sounds that are related to the original Hebrew. This will allow for an easier method of learning the ancient Hebrew Alephbet.
Let us take the Hebrew letter as an example. The picture of this letter is a house or tent. We will associate this letter with "bed" and has a "b" sound. The next step is to transfer the name and sound to the actual Hebrew name which is "beyt" with a "b" sound. In the third step we will learn that the "beyt" has the meaning of "house, tent, inside and with."
Once the letters are understood in their original Hebrew context, we will look at a few Hebrew words which are formed by combining letters together. The meaning of these letters will then help to supply the definition to the Hebrew word.
This is a picture of the head of an ox, the strongest and most versatile animals among the Hebrews livestock. The ox was used to pull carts or a plow, it provided meat and leather and it was one of the animals used in sacrifices. This animal was the "all" powerful and "all" versatile animal of the Hebrews. This letter has an "a" sound, but also an "e" sound as in elk and elephant, both of which are also powerful animals. The name of this letter is "aleph," which may be the origin of "elephant."
Associations: All, elk, elephant
Sound: a (ah), e (eh)
Ancient Name: al or el
Modern Name: aleph
Meaning: strong, power, leader
The Hebrews lived in goat hair tents, which were divided into two halves, male and female sections, and divided by a wall. The picture of this letter is a representation of the floorplan to the tent. The tent was the place where the family laid their "bed".
Sound: b, bh (v)
Ancient Name: Beyt
Modern Name: Beyt
Meaning: Family, House, In
The picture is the foot of a man. The Hebrews were always on their feet for traveling, working as well as playing "games". The old Latin word for a leg is "gam."
Associations: Game, Gam
Ancient Name: Gam
Modern Name: Gimel
Meaning: Gather, Walk
The entrance of the Hebrew's tent was covered by a curtain suspended from a horizontal pole. The picture of this letter represents the "door" of the tent.
Ancient Name: Dal
Modern Name: Dalet
Meaning: Move, Hang, Entrance
The picture is of a man with his arms outstretched, pointing toward a wonderful view and saying "hey" look at that.
Sound: h, ey
Ancient Name: Hey
Modern Name: Hey
Meaning: Look, Reveal, Breath
The tent was supported by ropes attached to pegs driven into the ground. These pegs were made of a branched piece of hardwood. No English word is derived from this letter but the picture is similar to the hand of a man "waving".
Sound: w, ow, uw
Ancient Name: Waw
Modern Name: Vav
Meaning: Add, Secure, Hook
The picture is of a mattock, an agricultural tool for working the crop fields. There is no English word derived from this Hebrew letter but it is similar to the letter "Z", which did evolve out of this letter.
Ancient Name: Zayin
Modern Name: Zayin
Meaning: Food, Cut, Nourish
The tent was divided into two sections, with a wall separating the tent in "half".
Ancient Name: Hhet
Modern Name: Hhet
Meaning: Wall, Outside, Divide, Half
The picture is a basket or "tote" used for storing foods or belongings.
Ancient Name: Tet
Modern Name: Tet
Meaning: Surround, Contain, Mud
The picture is of the hand and arm of a man. The length of the arm, from fingertip to elbow is called a cubit. Our word "yard", as a measurement, is the length of the arm.
Sound: y, ee
Ancient Name: Yad
Modern Name: Yud
Meaning: Hand, Work, Throw, Worship
The picture is the open palm of the hand. The palm facing up and bent forms a "cupped" shape.
Ancient Name: Kaph
Modern Name: Kaph
Meaning: Bend, Open, Allow, Tame
The Hebrews raised sheep for wool, food, leather and milk. The Hebrew shepherd always carried a staff, which could be used as a weapon to protect the flock from predators as well as to discipline the sheep. The staff also had a bent end that could be used to pull a "lamb".
Ancient Name: Lam
Modern Name: Lamed
Meaning: Teach, Yoke, Authority, Bind
The picture is of the waves of water on the sea. There is no English word derived from this letter, but, our letter "M" was derived from this letter.
Ancient Name: Mem
Modern Name: Mem
Meaning: Water, Chaos, Mighty, Blood
The picture is a seed with the root coming out of it. The seed is the beginning of "new" life.
Ancient Name: Nun
Modern Name: Nun
Meaning: Seed, Continue, Heir, Son
The desert of the Hebrews has many species of thorns and thistles. The picture is a thorn, which attaches itself to the flesh causing pain. Our word "sin" comes from this letter as it also causes pain in our flesh.
Ancient Name: Sin
Modern Name: Samehh
Meaning: Grab, Hate, Protect
The picture is the "eye".
Ancient Name: Ayin
Modern Name: Ayin
Meaning: See, Watch, Know, Shade
The picture is the mouth and represents something that is open. There is no English word from this letter but can represent a "pit" as it is an open hole.
Ancient Name: Pey
Modern Name: Pey
Meaning: Open, Blow, Scatter, Edge
This picture is a picture of a trail leading to a destination such as a watering hole or another trail.
Ancient Name: Tsade
Modern Name: Tsade
Meaning: Trail, Journey, chase, hunt
This is a picture of the sun at the horizon where the light is concentrated at this point, while the rest of the sky is dark. This is a "coming" together of the light.
Ancient Name: Quph
Modern Name: Quph
Meaning: Condense, Circle, Time
The picture is the head of a man, which is "raised" up to look.
Ancient Name: Resh
Modern Name: Resh
Meaning: Head, First, Top, Beginning
The picture is the two front teeth. The whiteness of the teeth "shine".
Ancient Name: Shin
Modern Name: Shin
Meaning: Sharp, Press, Eat, Two
The picture of two crossed sticks is a mark such as a "target" one aims at when shooting.
Ancient Name: Taw
Modern Name: Tav
Meaning: Mark, Sign, Signal, Monument
The picture is a twisted rope. This letter is often associated with things that are bad or wrong
Sound: gh (ng)
Ancient Name: Ghayin
Modern Name: None
Meaning: Twist, Dark, Wicked
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|Learn to Read Biblical Hebrew (Course)|
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After his ward was prepared, he himself needed to be washed, changed and fed. I asked two of our orderlies, physically strong guys, Sasha and Vitya, to take him to the shower and put him in a special bath, which they successfully coped with. And went to smoke, asking for time off from me.
Alphabet pictures teaching hebrew
Varya got up on her knees out of the mud with the only desire to stab the creature that had allowed herself to. Mock her like that. She had no pain, she warmed up perfectly in the sun, having lain for an unknown amount of time, but decently. The iPhone was lying on the side.Hebrew - How to write the Hebrew Alphabet (Aleph-Bet) - Free Biblical Hebrew
Surely. My guess is confirmed, and this time - sad. So I. - bursts out from me, and she nods, - And you.
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Such sweet lust. I returned to this world not to kill, but to appeal to you to fall into sin. I like you, so I'll. Let you live and let you enjoy my jewelry work.