aleph and lamed together

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afonseca1974's picture
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Joined: 3 Oct 2007 - 5:34am
aleph and lamed together
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Hello!

I need some info concerning a reference that I found on a Portuguese book about the union of 2 Hebrew letters: aleph and lamed.
I dont have any knowledge about the hebrew alphabet.
What I want to know is:
Is this used? I mean, the modern Hebrew typafaces consider a union of these 2 letters in one? Or its an error?

Sorry if any I made any mistake about this.
Thanks
Antonio

PS- If you have examples, please post.

John Savard's picture
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Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
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There is indeed a ligature of aleph and lamed; I illustrate it on my web page in this chart of Hebrew vocalization and character forms used in manuscripts of Scripture:

Two forms of that ligature are the second and third items in the fourth column.

It isn't used in normal Hebrew text, like newspapers, but it is used in typefaces made recently simply because typefaces are still being made with features that permit them to be used for printing editions of the Masoretic text of the Scriptures, which contains this ligature and other exotic forms.

afonseca1974's picture
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Joined: 3 Oct 2007 - 5:34am
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Thank you John for the info.
I'm having some dificulties in visualization your chart.
Is it to much to ask if you can post the 2 letters and the ligature in good resolution, in order to get detail of the letters?
Thank again for the help.

António

Michel Boyer's picture
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 - 1:01pm
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Here is from SBL Hebrew

afonseca1974's picture
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Joined: 3 Oct 2007 - 5:34am
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Thank you Michel!

António

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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The history of this unique Hebrew ligature is fascinating. This form did not occur in classical (Biblical) Hebrew. It originated among sephardic Jews living in Arab lands, who spoke Arabic but wrote it with Hebrew letters. [This is typical of diaspora Jews, as also seen in Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish being written in Hebrew letters, although there are also examples of the reverse: Hebrew language written in Arabic letters, especially among the Karaites.] Now, the most common phoneme sequence in Arabic is AL, which is the definite article, and Jews began ligating the letters alef+lamed when writing this sequence. Initially, this form seems to have been reserved specifically for the definite article, but gradually became normal for every occurence of AL among Jewish Arabic speakers. The ligature made its way back into Hebrew via prayer books, in which Arabic speakers would transcribe the Hebrew prayers using their daily orthography, including this ligature.

Note that this ligature is never used in the Bible text.

Michel Boyer's picture
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 - 1:01pm
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Interesting indeed! Thanks for the post.

Steve Leventhal's picture
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Joined: 16 May 2011 - 11:46pm
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Does this ligature have anything to do with aleph-lamed being one of the names of God (and the issues surrounding erasure of the name)? There are seven names in Hebrew, with the tetragrammaton being the most famous, but El (aleph-lamed) is another. By using the ligature, one avoids explicitly writing a name of God.

Just a thought from the Eastern European tradition, as I have no real exposure to Sephardic traditions.

Michel Boyer's picture
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 - 1:01pm
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You can see two alef lamed ligatures in the http://Kauffmann Haggadah, p. 14 that is said to be of the fourteenth century on the Hebrew Wiki entry Ligature (the two last pictures of which are of alef lamed ligatures).

Michel Boyer's picture
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Joined: 2 Jun 2007 - 1:01pm
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And here is another one from the site David Kaufmann and his collection.

Juergen Weltin's picture
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006 - 6:31am
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A modern alef-lamed ligature:
(http://typematters.de/julius/)

Ivan Perez's picture
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Joined: 14 Jul 2017 - 10:35am
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I believe the /a needed its terminal as it was but I like the other changes. Perhaps /r would benefit from more experiments in either direction.