Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aleph

The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and now also the name of arguably one of the most famous Jewish infants in the world -- Natalie Portman's son.

Oh Natalie, I expected more from you. You are sophisticated and intelligent and have probably chortled at some of the more ridiculous baby names that have come out of Hollywood in recent years (Apple anyone? Kal El?) You probably told yourself, "I'd never do that to my child." And yet here we are, discussing this name, which will become the bane of your son's existence if you choose to enroll him in Hebrew school. And if this is what Natalie Portman comes up with, what hope can we hold out that our other Jewish goddess, Amy Winehouse will be able to name her child something normal if she accidentally gets knocked up? We should already start preparing ourselves for some liquor or blow inspired first name.

Of course, the Israeli born, Hebrew fluent Portman (aka Herschlag) has earned the right to give her a child this sort of name since we know that she understands the language and what she's doing. And "Aleph" does have one advantage over the English equivalent "A,"which is more than one syllable.

Yet despite the ludicrousness of the "Aleph," I must thank Portman for forcing People magazine to research the name so thoroughly that they came up with this:

Its esoteric meaning in Judaic Kabbalah, as denoted in the theological treaty Sefer-ha-Bahir, relates to the origin of the universe, the "primordial one that contains all numbers."


Who would've ever expected to see word "sefer" much less the whole phrase "Sefer ha Bahir" on a gossip website? First century sage who wrote the book -- I bet you're wishing you hadn't been so anonymous after all. You could've gotten quoted in People.

3 comments:

Girl said...

I love the name Aleph. I had plans to use it for my third son. It's the first letter in both the hebrew and arabic alphabet. It means companion/friend in Arabic. I think its a great name.

Mags said...

I wonder if her second kid will be named Beis. . .

Dvora Meyers said...

Well since she's Israel, it would be "Bet." Ms. Portman doesn't speak Ashkenazis!