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3 Reasons Why Hebrew Is a Special or Sacred Language

Hebrew is a sacred Language.

A Bit of Background

In recent posts, we’ve looked at how some will make Hebrew more than it is and give the language mystical or supernatural qualities. Hebrew is not spiritual but sacred, not mystical but special.

3 Reasons Hebrew is a Special or Sacred Language

The Hebrew language is special and sacred. Here’s why.

1. Hebrew binds the Jewish community together in sacred ceremonies.

Hebrew is a sacred Language - Jerusalem, Kotel - Men praying before the Wailing Wall: Hoshana rabah
Men praying before the Wailing Wall: Hoshana Rabah.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

The word sacred means, “dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity or devoted exclusively to one service or use” (2022 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). In this way, the Hebrew language, once a common street language, has become sacred. Jewish people have set it aside for a purpose, as an instrument in worship and devotion.

We speak most other languages, such as English, for utilitarian purposes only. Most languages are a means to an end. I want to tell somebody something, so I use a language we both know. On the other hand, Hebrew travels a unique history. Before they resurrected the language during the late 19th century, Jews spoke, read, and studied Hebrew solely for religious reasons.

2. Hebrew is a revived language.

The First Committee of the Hebrew Language, Jerusalem 1912
The First Committee of the Hebrew Language, Jerusalem 1912. Sitting (R-L): Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Joseph Klausner, David Yellin, Eliezer Meir Lifshitz; Standing: Chaim Aryeh Zuta, Kadish Yehuda Silman, Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, Abraham Jacob Brawer. (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, by Ya’ackov Ben-Dov –, Link

Hebrew is one of a dozen or more revived languages, including Ainu, Barngarla, Belarusian, Cornish, Hawaiian, Kaurna, Leonese, Manx, Maori, Occitan Gascon, and Wampanoag.

revived language is one that, having experienced near or complete extinction as either a spoken or written language, has been intentionally revived and has regained some of its former status.

Sensagent Online Encyclopedia, List of Revived Languages, 2022

The World Atlas counts about 7,099 languages in the world, which makes Hebrew 1 in 592 languages. Only 0.0017% of current languages today can claim the title of resurrected. Yes, that makes Hebrew special. But when you look at the revived languages listed above, all of them are in the process of being revived or have few speakers. Only Hebrew has been truly revived since over five million people speak Hebrew fluently.

Also see HEBREW IS A SACRED LANGUAGE – Rabbi Pini Dunner.

3. Hebrew is the primary language of the Old Testament.

Hebrew is a sacred Language - Side view of Hebrew Sefer Torah Scroll. Opern in the book of Shmot
Side view of Hebrew Sefer Torah Scroll.
Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

God chose the Hebrew language because it was the language the Jewish people spoke when the Old Testament was written. If they spoke Aramaic at the time, God would have used that in the same way he chose to pen the New Testament in Koine Greek—the common language of the Roman Empire.

Although we must translate the Bible into modern languages, God still chooses to speak to us in words we can understand. He will use your language to talk directly to you. He speaks directly to your heart using word-pictures and phrases loaded with meaning unique to you. This is the point of this article. The languages in the Bible are not mystical. The message itself is, and God wants to speak to you in a way you will understand.

God chooses to speak to us in words we can understand.

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Cover image: Rabbi Ariel Louis the Sofer (Jewish scribe) of Masada completing the of torah for the The Israeli Security Service , Masada, Israel, January 2012. Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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