For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not shine (‘yahelu’) their light…
The Hebrew word ‘yahelu’ here means “will shine.” The root of this word is the two Hebrew letters ‘heh’ and ‘lamed,’ which make the ‘H’ and ‘L’ sounds, respectively.
Similarly, in English, the word “halo,” according to the World English Dictionary (HarperCollins), means (emphasis mine):
- a disc or ring of light around the head of an angel, saint, etc, as in painting or sculpture
- the aura surrounding an idealized, famous, or admired person,thing, or event
- a circle of light around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction of light by particles of ice
So, “halo,” in English too, is related to a “light” or “aura.”
In fact, the English word “aura” also clearly relates to the Hebrew “or,” meaning “light.”
Other instances in Scripture of the Hebrew ‘H-L’ root referring to shining light (cited by Rashi in his comments to the above verse in Isaiah):
“When He illuminates (‘hilo’) his candle above my head, in its light (‘oro’) I walk in the darkness.”
“If I see light (‘or’) when it shines (‘yahel’), and the moon proceeding with illumination.”
Job 31: 26
“How have you fallen from heaven, O luminary (‘helel’), bright as the morning star?”
Indeed, this is also the meaning of a popular modern Hebrew girl’s name — Hilah!
May we all merit to see the Great Light speedily in our days.