Tuesday, December 28, 2010

~Day 37~ Hebrew~

"Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them not yet recorded—may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain.

Language defines a culture, through the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea may not translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost."  National Geographic

Hebrew, The language of the Torah. Only in the last 100 years the language of the Jewish people in Israel.The 'resurrection' of the Hebrew language as a daily language was brought about almost solely by one man~Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. Known as the Father of Modern Hebrew, Eliezer said, “I read somewhere that we Jews speak seventy different languages, yet not one of us speaks our own language,” quoted from page 48 in his biography, “Tongue of the Prophets”, by Robert St. John.

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda spent his life resurrecting the Hebrew language for the Jewish people. He knew that the nation of Israel could never become a ‘country on its own’ if it did not have a common language. Once he grasped the vision of a national tongue, Hebrew became the only language spoken in his home. The task was daunting, but he gave his life to it and within 40 years, succeeded.

Hebrew defines the culture, the religious life, and the rich inheritance we have as Jews with a history that dates to Creation. With the promise of returning us from the four-corners of the world, Hebrew unites the immigrants with the rest of the country and begins, after a manner,  cleansing and washing the heart and mind of the diaspora. By embracing Hebrew, we embrace our true identity as People of the Book. The ones with whom G-d has made His covenant.

Learning Hebrew easier said than done for most people. But that story is for another day....

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda

1 comment:

Thank you for your comments. Your post will appear soon.