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Hebrew Illuminations: Sacred Judaic Art for Meditation, Prayer, and Divine Renewal    by Adam Rhine order for
Hebrew Illuminations
by Adam Rhine
Order:  USA  Can
Sounds True, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

In this luminous coffee table book, artist Adam Rhine beautifully illustrates the entire Hebrew alphabet (also known as the aleph-bet), with a page devoted to each letter. On the page preceding each picture, Rhine provides a detailed explanation about each letter, as the Hebrew alphabet is replete with symbolism.

For example, the letter Beit is the second letter of the aleph-bet, and Rhine elaborates: 'Beit is the first letter written in the Torah. It starts the word bereshet, which means "in the beginning." It also begins the word for blessings, berachah. We learn from this that there is a connection between beginning and blessings.'

Hebrew letters also have numeric values, and Rhine explains this as well. Take this example of the letter daled which is the fourth letter of the aleph-bet: 'Daled's numerical value of four reminds us of the four letters of the Holy One's unpronounceable name. There are also four matriarchs of the Jewish people: Sarah, Rivka, Leah, and Rachel. At the Passover Seder, four cups of wine are drunk, and the Four Questions are asked by the youngest child.'

In addition to Hebrew letters, Rhine has a Magen David section in which he illustrates and describes well-known Hebrew prayers, symbols, and holidays.

Rhine uses bright, pleasing colors that, as the title suggests, illuminates the beauty of the Hebrew language. This volume would make a great bar or bat mitzvah gift, or a nice decorative touch to a coffee table.

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