- General Questions
B’’H I heard that it has been proven that the "modern" Hebrew script, i.e. that in which our Holy Books are written, is in fact Aramaic script, and that the Original Hebrew Script(i.e. that in which the original Torah was revealed, and that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in,etc.) is quite different and is closer to the Pheonician letters. My question is, how is modern Hebrew and the script considered as the Holy Tongue if it is not the original Hebrew, of which is said in the Midrash that HASHEM created the world w/ it? And if this is true, when and why did the script change? Any further insight into the issue, such as sources,etc. would be very helpful.
In the Talmud (Sanhedrin 22b 23a and more) we find the "Assyrian" font – Ktav Ashuri - that is the Hebrew font used for the Sefer Torah we write today; and the Hebrew font – Ktav Ivri – a.k.a. ancient Hebrew font, as found in some of the ancient scrolls and coins. The Talmud (ibid) brings different opinions about the origin of the two in regards to how was the Torah initially written. It is agreed by all that the language has remained the same, Hebrew – as we know it today, It is similarly agreed that today we use only the Ktav Ashuri and the Ktav Ivri contains no sanctity. (Yadaim 4, 5; Megilah 8b; Rashi ibid) It is commonly accepted that we hold by the opinion that the Torah was given in Ktav Ashuri; for some time the Jews used the Ktav Ivri for non-sacred-writing as letters and coins; and in a certain period of time after returning from Babylonia, changed all Hebrew writing back into the Ktav Ahsuri. (Rambam Yadaim 4, 5; Ran, Rach for Sanhadrin; Divrei Yatziv OC 29 and more. Note also end of Mishpat Cohen 69 from Yerushalmi Megilah 1, 9) This is a vast topic and much more can be said, since different Rabbinic sources don’t seem to fit together simply, while modern archeology sheds perplexing evidence on this topic.