"Sheol" implies the name was pronounced with a prothetic aleph
Muraoka notes that prothetic aleph occurs "optionally with an
aleph, Muraoka notes that this process "was evident very early on
orthography (by the elision of aleph), he notes several frequently
occurring words where the aleph (as a graphic letter) is preserved, one
In what follows, I propose to discuss the extent to which "El Aleph" can be read as an illustration of this view, by concentrating on a point which remains under-examined, namely, the ludic, "as if," elaboration of the two main understandings of the story's title word, the mystical and the mathematical.
"Aleph" is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, believed, in Jewish theology, to contain and reflect all the other letters.
The story has been read mostly as a metaphoric elaboration of this mystical aspect of the aleph as explained in the Postscript, while the accompanying reference to the mathematical aleph has been left either unnoticed or underdeveloped.
The genius of "El Aleph" as a fictive microcosm is that though everything contained within it is manifestly partial, selective and self-reflective, its claim to encompassing the whole universe is entirely convincing.
And yet, in the reading I am offering here, I suggest that this "unique" vision of the Aleph is set up only to be derided in subtle and less subtle ways.