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My first guess was that it was a way of avoiding writing out a Divine name, but the texts where I've seen this, the same page may indeed include a full Divine name, so there must be another reason. I've seen it in siddurim (prayerbooks) and Scripture. I did find one speculative article but I don't feel it answers my question: https://myinspiration.com/aleph-lamed

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    To save a bit of room on the line for printing.
    – N.T.
    Feb 6 at 13:21
  • Interesting to note that Arabic has a similar phenomenon, where the alef and lamed can be written as a joint letter Feb 12 at 19:38

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