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Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew?

I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to specific Hebrew letters) or the vocabulary (like the lack of curse words, etc.), but rather to the mechanics of the language, such as (for example) how Hebrew verbs are conjugated (or not conjugated), the shorashim, the binyanim, or other aspects of grammar or morphology of Hebrew.

I apologize for the vagueness of this question, but it was inspired by a random discussion this past Shabbos, and I'm now curious on the topic.

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    I am rather certain Eli that there are Kabbalistic answers to your excellent question. In a different post, I suggested Rabbi Munk's Mystery in the Hebrew Alphabet published by Art Scroll. Perhaps it can provide some insight to your query. Shavuah Tov.
    – JJLL
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 2:04
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    @user5540 You asked about "morphology"; this is going to be hard to divorce from "letters," especially in Hebrew. Even knowing very very little about this fascinating topic, I can think of tons of examples -- provided we include letters, what they do, and what is done with them. One author, Tzvi Freeman, thinks the entire kabbalah is about letters. Maybe, whereas letters are the stuff of spiritual worlds, "Hebrew grammar"--that is, words--comes into play only where Creation is concerned. +
    – SAH
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 1:09
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    @user5540 [...]This maps nicely onto the idea that the grammar of the "revealed" Torah such as the Five Books is absolutely crucial to its interpretation at every level.
    – SAH
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 1:09

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There is discussion in Kabbalistic thought (as well as other sources) about the letter used to make a word feminine being a ה, that the ה is the feminine letter, and is also often related to birth - for example, Avraham and Sarah each had a ה added to their names at the time when they were given the promise that they would have a child. ה is also the letter of this world - אלה תולדות שמים וארץ בהבראם is expounded as ב'ה' בראם - they (heaven and earth) were created with a ה. There is further discussion about ה being the letter of קבלה, of receiving, and the female is the recipient in the fundamental act of creation.

I'm sure there is much, much more to talk about, but that is one example.

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  • I've actually heard this before, but I'm specifically looking for questions related to grammar and not about letters of the alef-bet. I've edited the question to make it clear.
    – user5540
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 2:42
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    @eliyahu-g This is about grammar. It is about the grammatical process of making a word gender-feminine and the significance of it. Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 2:43
  • I think it is too wrapped up in why ה is feminine, rather than the actual categories of masucline/feminine. The Kabbalah is saying that the reason the final letter of the feminine form of a lot of declensions is ה, and how ה in other spots is wrapped up in this. If it was about strictly the general feminine form longer, or the feminine form in general, that would be different. I realize that it has a grammatical aspect, but I want to stay away from the teachings wrapped up in the nature of Hebrew letters.
    – user5540
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 2:49
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    @eliyahu-g I'm not sure what this has to do with the nature of the letter. It's not about the shape of the ה or its pronunciation. The specific letter in question is (for the purposes of my answer) irrelevant. I also am not sure what "feminine form longer" means. Can you explain what that means please. Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 2:58
  • Sure. The idea of ה being a specifically feminine letter (similar to say ב being a humble letter, etc.), is the problem I have. Maybe if you reworked the answer to talk more about נקבה forms?
    – user5540
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 4:58
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First of all, I've upvoted YEZ's answer, as the idea of relating ה to femininity is not related to the letter itself, but to its grammatical function.

There are several other examples of cases which I believe answer your question, though besides for YEZ's example, I can only think of one right away: the Maharal (Netzach Yisrael ch. 13), in context of explaining why there's no pasuk in Psalm 145 (colloquially known as Ashrei) that begins with the letter נ is because it represents falling - not merely because it is the first letter in the word נפילה, but because of a grammatical rule, that the נ, if beginning a shoresh, is left out in certain verb forms (for example, almost all future tenses of the verb 'fall' don't include the נ of the shoresh - the נ itself 'falls away').

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  • Not all.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 5:16
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    @DoubleAA true, but those are exceptions. The general rule is as above Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 5:33
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I've long had similar questions. There's various explict theological points about grammar scattered throughout the Midrashim, but I've yet to find a work which compiles them into a complete framework.

The closest text to what you're looking for that I know of is the Sefer Yetzirah, specifically R. Aryeh Kaplan's translation and commentary. It's certainly not easy to grasp, but as the work is Abraham's treatise on how G-d created the universe using the Hebrew language, I suspect much grammar can be and is explained.

Excerpt of Kaplan explaing the origin (or at least theological relation) of a few uses of letter prefixes and suffixes. The beginning gives the necessary context:

The Kabbalists normatively associate the name Yah with Wisdom (Chakhmah). Actually, however, only the first letter of this name, the Yud, designates Wisdom. The second letter, Heh designates Understanding, the feminine principle. The reason why this name as a whole is used to designate Wisdom is because Wisdom cannot be grasped except when it is clothed in Understanding. For this reason, the Yud alone is not used as the name for Wisdom, but rather, the Yud combined with the Heh.

There are a number of reasons why these two letters represent Wisdom and Understanding respectively. Yud has the primary form of a simple point. This alludes to the fact that Wisdom is simple and undifferentiated. The numerical value of Yud is 10, indicating that all Ten Sefirot are included in the simple nature of Wisdom.

At the beginning of a word, the letter Yud indicates the masculine future. This is related to the teaching, "Who is wise? He who perceives the future."

At the end of a word, when used as a suffix, the letter Yud means "me" or "my." Wisdom is the essential nature of the individual belonging to him alone. As such, it is the ultimate "my." The same is true of the Sefirah of Wisdom (Chakhmah) with respect to the Infinite Being.

Heh has a numerical value of 5, alluding to the five fingers of the hand, As such, it represents Understanding, the hand that holds Wisdon, distributing and channeling it.

At the beginning of a word, the prefix Heh means "the." It is the definite article, that specifies and delineates an object. Like a hand, the definite article holds and specifies a concept that is specific rather than general. At the end of a word, Heh indicates the feminine possessive, her." This is because Understanding is the domain of the Feminine Essence.

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  • No. I known Kaplan well. This is no grammar. We are thinking of general Kabbalistic methods of understanding letters or combining and manipulating them. This is inherent in the Kabbalistic doctrine. We are rather talking of Grammar. On the one hand, the original oral tradition of Torah was one of grammar in as much as one was required to derive lessons using an understanding of grammar and the "midot" or exegesses methods. And in as much as Kabbalah corresponds to the oral law, one can find an answer. What I will recommend at this is to read some of the Vilna Gaon's (Gra) writings on gramm
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 13:12
  • Continued: Gra On grammar, namely the second half of the publication by Mosad Harav Kook in 2018, Jerusalem, called דקדוק ופירוש על התורה
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 13:14
  • It is for this that I have downvoted your posting. Chazaq!
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 13:18
  • I never said Sefer Yetzirah was "a grammar." But the quote I used literally presents a correlation between a few aspects of Hebrew grammar and the meaning of the letters involved.
    – John
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 15:20
  • Furthermore, my answer is perfectly in keeping with the others posted here. Did you downvote them as well? I require a more precise answer as to exactly how my answer doesn't qualify. As I see it, arguing as you have fails to grasp exactly what the goal of the Sefer Yetzirah is, simply because it defines the Hebrew letters as the relationships between the Sefirot. As Hebrew grammar relates to the use of Hebrew letters, there's an obvious correlation
    – John
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 15:24

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