[b-hebrew] Interchangeable letters

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Tue Oct 23 23:06:31 EDT 2007

I don't know who Kaptziel is, or Ben who supplies us with the website 
you cited, but it does not present authentic Kabbala.

See this article at 

This is an excerpt:

...Other sources, however, discuss Abraham's knowing and using Jewish 
mystical secrets. Abraham is credited as the source of the mystical 
secrets of the Sefer Yetzira, the Book of Creation. Sefer Yetzira 
gives meditative techniques for mystical healing, creating new 
bodies, teleportation, and more. Sa'adia Gaon writes that our text of 
Sefer Yetzira was written in Talmudic times, but the methods taught 
in the book date to Abraham. The last section of Sefer Yetzira itself 
describes "Abraham our father" making use of these meditative secrets 
to bring new creatures to life:

"And when our father Abraham looked, saw, understood, probed, 
engraved, and carved, he was successful in creation, as the Torah 
writes, 'and the souls that they made in Haran' (Genesis 12:5)." 4

The usual explanation of Genesis 12:5 is that Abraham and Sarah had 
spread the knowledge of monotheism, bringing people's souls closer to 
God, not that they had actually created new people. But the Sefer 
Yetzira's interpretation is, if anything, even more consistent with 
the words of the Torah, and identifies Abraham among the early 
practicing mystics.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's extensive English commentary on Sefer Yetzira 
notes that Abraham lived in the 18th century BCE, the same time 
period in which mystical books, such as the Vedic Scriptures, were 
written in the Far East, making it logical that Jewish mystical texts 
would also have been written or conceived at that time.

While some commentaries indicate that "The land to the east" might be 
Arab areas just to the East of the Land of Israel,[5] most understand 
this to be referring to the Far East.

Jewish tradition is not clear on whether Abraham taught the Children 
of Ketura the secrets of Sefer Yetzira or other mystical secrets. But 
the Zohar tells the following revealing story:

"Rabbi Abba said: I once was in a town where the children of the east 
live, and they taught me some of their ancient wisdom and showed me 
their books of wisdom.... I said to them, my children, all of this is 
similar to what we have in our Torah, but you should avoid these 
books, to avoid idolatry.... The ancient children of the east 
possessed a wisdom which they had inherited from Abraham, who had 
imparted it to the children of his other wife... in time they 
followed that wisdom to many false roads." [6]

On 10/23/07, Shoshanna Walker wrote:
> The BGDKFRT variations are not later developments, they are already
> mentioned as the 7 (yes, reish is included) double letters in the
> Sefer Yetzira which is ancient ancient ancient.

On various views, both ancient and modern for the dating of Sefer Yetzirah,
see here:

On the significance of Resh as a double letter, see:
Geoffrey Khan, 'The pronunciation of resh in the Tiberian tradition of Biblical
Hebrew', Hebrew Union College Annual LXVI (1995), 67-80.
Ilan Eldar, "The double pronunciation of the Tiberian Resh", Leshonenu 48-49
(1984-85), p 22-34 (Hebrew)

Yitzhak Sapir
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