The first letter of the alphabet has no sound. It is counted as a consonant, because Hebrew has no vowels, and yet it is a non-consonant. Already a mystery!The very first letter you read, the aleph, is a symbol of the curiously postmodern, already-deconstructed condition of the Hebrew alphabet explored in this personal talMUD. The absence of vowels, in the pure primitive form of the language, invites multiple meanings for every word and thus keeps the reader in a certain suspense.
This lack of vowels is an artefact of its very primitiveness. It functions to keep certain meaning deferred. The aleph, unlike the A of Latin or English, or the alpha of Greek, is at one and the same time a sign of the missing vowel and a trace or token of the pictographic parent script which it superseded. On the one hand, the aleph is a nullity which gives no direction to the reader about how to pronounce it.
On the other hand, the aleph in itself is a placeholder, a sign of the absence of certainty, one of the first signs of the zero in the history of civilization. Like the zero, the aleph "is not an absence, not nothing, not the sign of a thing, not a simple exclusion." Rather, it is a signifier of the essence of the Hebrew alphabet, a meta-letter about the code of Hebrew, that phonetic script that lacks vowels, "signifying not Nothing but no thing":
a sign ... whose connection to 'nothing,' the void, the place where no thing is, makes it the site of a systematic ambiguity between the absence of 'things' and the absence of signs, and the exemplar ... of a semiotic phenomenon whose importance lies far beyond notation systems ... (Brian Rotman, Signifying Nothing)
Rashi understood this metaphysical quality of the aleph when he said that the aleph wears a veil.
It is this metaphysical quality of the aleph that induced Gregor Cantor to use it to signify infinity, and Jorge Luis Borges to use it to signify an artefact in which were mirrored all the things in the world.