from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. See Table at alphabet.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The fifteenth letter of many Semitic alphabets/abjads (Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic and others).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
A completely different approach is expressed in the midrash that observes that the letter samekh does not appear from the beginning of Genesis until the creation of Eve, until Gen. 2: 21, which states: “and closed up [va-yisgor] the flesh at that spot.”
The Rabbis object, noting that the letter samekh appears in the Torah before this, in Gen. 2: 11, 13: “the one that winds through [ha-sovev]”; the answer given is that verses 11 and 13 speak of the creation of the rivers, and not that of the human race (Gen. Rabbah 17: 6).
This teaches that when Eve was created, Satan was created with her (as is alluded by the letter samekh or sin).
The appearance of the letter samekh before this verse merely emphasizes the negative tendentiousness of this teaching.
No two letters are identical, with the exception of 'sin' and 'samekh'.
'ayins and hehs ... not to mention confusing totally dissimilar letters ... not as we the Ashkenazim pronounce the undotted tauw (tav) as a samekh, to our shame.
But those who used the Hebrew alphabet had a rather primitive tool at their disposal, namely the letters samekh (for s) and shin (for sh