In bed Uncle Binyamin studied Hebrew grammar. The permutations of
the triple-lettered root elated him; how was it possible that
a whole language, hence a whole literature, a civilization even,
should rest on the pure presence of three letters of
the alphabet? The Hebrew verb, a stunning mechanism: three letters
whichever fated three, could command all possibility simply by a
change in their pronunciation, or the addition of a wing-letter
fore and aft. Every conceivable utterance blossomed from this trinity.
It seemed to him not so much a language for
expression as a code for the world design, indissoluble, predetermined.
Paraphrases from The Puttermesser Letters by Cynthia Ozick.