home | about | galleries | naq | links
From S Y Agnon's 'The Bridal Canopy' (translated by I M Lask) :-
And what did Reb Yudel most resemble as he strode along with his stick in his hand, his goods on his shoulder and his whole body bent? Why, a large letter Aleph with which the Hebrew alphabet begins. His stick was like the left stroke of the Aleph, his body like the somewhat crooked middle stroke of the letter, and his knapsack was like the humpy little bit coming out of the body of the letter on the right-hand side.
From "The Aleph" by Jorge Luis Borges :-
He hesitated, then with that level, impersonal voice we reserve for confiding something intimate, he said that to finish the poem he could not get along without the house because down in the cellar there was an Aleph. He explained that an Aleph is one of the points in space that contains all other points.
"It's in the cellar under the dining room," he went on, so overcome by his worries now that he forgot to be pompous. "It's mine -- mine. I discovered it when I was a child, all by myself. The cellar stairway is so steep that my aunt and uncle forbade my using it, but I'd heard someone say there was a world down there. I found out later they meant an old-fashioned globe of the world, but at the time I thought they were referring to the world itself. One day when no one was home I started down in secret, but I stumbled and fell. When I opened my eyes, I saw the Aleph."
"The Aleph?" I repeated.
"Yes, the only place on earth where all places are -- seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending. I kept the discovery to myself and went back every chance I got. As a child, I did not foresee that this privilege was granted me so that later I could write the poem. Zunino and Zungri will not strip me of what's mine -- no, and a thousand times no! Legal code in hand, Doctor Zunni will prove that my Aleph is inalienable."
If you know of other mentions of the letter aleph, in literature, theatre or poetry, please email me here