My mind goes back to 1954 when I was just 23. Our next-door neighbours were Jewish, and we had a good and friendly relationship with them. Their son Geoffrey was attending his Barmitzvah classes at the local Synagogue, and every Friday evening he shared his lessons with my friend Peter and me. It was our first encounter with Hebrew. English-speaking Jews teach their children the Hebrew ABC in this way – each Hebrew letter being a pictograph –
Aleph is an Ox and here is its head,
Beth is a House where we all go to bed.
Gimel is a Camel, standing tall on his feet,
Daleth is a Door leading out to the street.
He is a window, a hole in the wall,
Vav is a tent peg, important though small . . .etc.
The Hebrew language has fascinated me ever since. In PT55 we examined the particle ETH, composed of just two Hebrew letters, Aleph and Tau. Now we must introduce Mem, the central letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph-bet?)Mem is the symbol of WATER. Suppose we plant Mem between the letters of ETH. We get EMETH, and this is the usual Hebrew word for TRUTH.
Once again we find the basis of a sermon contained in one word – Strength (the Ox), the Water of Life, and the Cross. There is so much to learn from Hebrew words. C.S.Lewis, in his Narnia Chronicles, gave a Calormene warrior the name Emeth in “The Last Battle”. Emeth believed he was worshipping the false god Tash, but Aslan knew that his heart was pure, and therefore his worship was deflected to the true God. I wonder how many people knew of Lewis’s knowledge of Hebrew, and his very appropriate use of Emeth in the story?