Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Letter Twins Bet/Vet




Bet, the second letter of the Aleph-Bet, is actually two letters in one. With a dot (dagesh) in its belly it makes the sound of a “b,” but without the dot it is transformed into the letter vet and sounds like “v.”

The letter bet represents the number 2 and thus symbolizes duality. In fact, it is partly because bet is two that it is the first letter of the first word of the Torah (Bereishit). Duality is critical to creation: night and day, cold and hot, wet and dry, black and white, and, of course, right and wrong. Without duality and therefore choice, there would be no need for the Torah because all of humankind would be without free will.

Additionally, the Talmud relates that all of the letters of the alphabet desired to be the first letter of the Torah, but God chose the bet because bet is the first letter of the Hebrew word bracha, blessing. A blessing is an increase in goodness (as two is more than one). But the idea of a blessing is also dependent on the existence of duality in the world: one cannot know "good" if one does not know "bad."

Because everything in the world has this duality to some degree, except for God (represented by the aleph - 1), human beings are able to have bechira, free choice.

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