Language, and specifically Hebrew have much prominence in Judaism. Through it we bless, pray and learn Torah. There’s even a commandment, one of the Ten Commandments, forbidding to say G-d’s name in vain including blessing unnecessary blessings using G-d’s name which is considered a grave sin. Even amulets are a proof of the great importance of the language for what is an amulet if not a grouping of letters that successfully helps change reality? From this we can understand that Hebrew is not the same as other languages. It has unique power, firstly since it was used to create the world.
We asked Rabbi Zamir Cohen, whose book “Hatzofen” The Code deals with the secret of the Hebrew letters, from where does the power of Hebrew come and why does Judaism assume it to be the first of all languages?
Rabbi Cohen explains, “The Torah teaches us that all of humanity spoke in one language until the famous sin of the Tower of Babel. During that rebellion, mankind used their unity between them in a negative way and that’s why G-d intervened and mixed up the one language that was fluent to them until then.”
But how do we know that language was Hebrew?
Besides sources in Jewish tradition and Kabbalah we find proof for this based on the names people were called before the Tower of Babel era. Adam was called Adam because he was created from the earth “adamah” in Hebrew. Cain from the meaning “I have acquired” kaniti ish et Hashem. Noah meaning consolation, For he will console us from our actions and sadness of our deeds, and there are many more similar names.”
“Eber from Shem’s descendants was righteous and did not participate in the sin of the Tower of Babel and he together with his descendants continued to use the original Hebrew. He passed it to Abraham and Abraham was the single person the language was preserved with.”
Beyond this how do you explain the special meaning in the Hebrew language?
“Sages of Kabbalah claimed that the Hebrew letters have hidden in them latent illuminations and real spiritual powers implanted in them by G-d, and with these letters He created the world. For illustration purposes, in chemical formulae different combinations of the letters representing different elements form entirely different things. In Hebrew, the combination of letters and their power form a reality that is expressed by that word. In the “Book of Formation” which is attributed to our Patriarch Abraham it is written:”
“The 22 letters (G-d) engraved them, quarried them, weighed them and exchanged them. He joined them and created the souls of all of creation and the souls to be created in the future. In this manner through the various combinations, G-d formed all the details of creation with each detail corresponding to the letters that form it.”
What about other languages, did they come from Hebrew or are they totally disconnected from it?
“The Hebrew language is the source of all other languages. When you try to find correlations between words in different languages you will discover wonderful findings. For example samurai a totally Japanese word is very similar to the Hebrew shomer. Alternative is similar to the Hebrew “nativ” meaning path, so alternative means “to find a different path”. Cat in Hebrew is “chatul” which in Latin turned to “catulus” shortened to cat in English. In French it’s “chat”, in German it’s “katze” etc.
Many other word have similar sound or structure like earth-eretz, lave, meaning heart-and love, mar’eh-mirror, semel-symbol, ayin-eye, atik-antique, perot-fruit, kushia-question, nafal-fall, irgun-organization raev meaning hungry-raving or ravenous.”
Rabbi Cohen also points out the similarities in the order of the alpha bets of English and Hebrew. There is also the phenomenon of Hebrew words’ meanings being changed or corrupted to something drastically different from the original. “Chashmal” now relates to electricity whereas in its original context relates to something spiritual from the world of Kabbalah. “Neshef” now means a night time dance whereas originally it meant night. “Liftan” now means dessert where as originally it meant “to accompany the bread”. Sometimes the word can be corrupted even to the opposite extreme. “Asmachta” now means authoritative whereas in Talmudic times it meant a weak proof not to be relied on.