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Learning the Hebrew Alef-Bet Part 1 Hebrew Language Blog

hebrew letters

If your system does not support a font that contains a character, you will see an empty box or a question mark. If ALEF SYMBOL and HEBREW LETTER ALEF look different from how they look at the FileFormat.Info links above, your browser may be doing font substitution. Aleph is the only silent letter of the 22 consonants – it represents the unrevealed, infinite spiritual. The 22 consonant letters of the Hebrew language are said to be the basic creative/energy structures that give rise to the manifest world.

This means that inside Alef, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, we can see a god (אל) and a mouth (פ or ף). I believe this to be purely a coincidence, but if that’s not the perfect way to summarize the creation story from the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, then I don’t know what is. Speaking of the concept of force and the possession of supernatural powers by extraterrestrial beings, let’s talk about another super iconic Pop Culture phenomenon – Star Wars. The fact that the story of Star Wars is riddled with Judeo-Christian and Daoist undertones is not a great revelation by itself. At the very least, it is a really good example of how we like to tell ourselves the same story over and over again in different ways.

thoughts on “The powerful story behind the Hebrew letter Alef”

In Hebrew this name is written אל”ף and the apostrophes are there to mark it is not a word but a letter’s name. Here it how the letter itself is written in Modern Hebrew. Kaf, Mem, Nun, Peh and Tzadeh all are written differently when they appear at the end of a word than when they appear in the beginning or middle of the word. The version used at the end of a word is referred to GAL as Final Kaf, Final Mem, etc.

The vowel marking system of Hebrew is called Niqud. There is something very “Schrödingerian” about the nature of the letter Alef. When it is all by itself, without any vowel indicator or another letter, there is no way of telling how to pronounce it. It can be read as A, E, I, O or U, and next to other letters it can also serve a silent vowel indicator. So basically, it is both something and nothing at the same time, and it must rely on other elements of writing for it to have sound or some kind of phonetic value. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called Alef.

Lesezeichen mit hebräischem Alphabet, Artikel #1 im Jonah Project Kit

The posts for this blog are not a detailed look at the pronunciation, but I try to give the student a headstart in the language. Is in enclitic positions, it is pronounced no/na (again west/east), rather than the full form eno/ana. The letter occurs very regularly at the end of words, where it represents the long final vowels o/a or e. In the middle of the word, the letter represents either a glottal stop between vowels , a long i/e (less commonly o/a) or is silent. Our team of Hebrew language specialists have been releasing new audio and video lessons weekly.

Our https://www.beaxy.com/ specialists are consistently producing and releasing new video series, with all lessons free for the first 2 weeks before going into our Basic and Premium Archive. The process of writing Hebrew words in the Roman alphabet is known as transliteration. Transliteration is more an art than a science, and opinions on the correct way to transliterate words vary widely. This is why the Jewish festival of lights (in Hebrew, Cheit-Nun-Kaf-Hei) is spelled Chanukah, Chanukah, Hanuka, and many other interesting ways. Each spelling has a legitimate phonetic and orthographic basis; none is right or wrong. The dot over the Shin or Sin can sometimes merge into an „o“ vowel next to it, so that an „osh“ sound or a „so“ sound usually have just one dot instead of two next to each other.

Hebrew Teacher

They all have only two pure alef in hebrew sound in their root. When you take a look at how the letter Alef was written in Ancient Hebrew and in Ancient Phoenician from which it has originated, the resemblance to an ox is undeniable. As a Chinese teacher from Israel, what I like to do is to compare the Hebrew letters with the Chinese character with the same meaning as the ancient pictogram. There is another style used for handwriting, in much the same way that cursive is used for the Roman alphabet.

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The of the word Aleph is also connected to many other words in the Hebrew language. The world “eleph,” for example, means a thousand. Shin is pronounced „sh“ when it has a dot over the right branch and „s“ when it has a dot over the left branch.

The style of writing most commonly seen in Hebrew books is referred to as Dfoos in Hebrew, which is block print or square script. The English word for our letters, alphabet, comes from aleph-bet, the first two letters in the Hebrew language. By the way, the main reason I follow Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris has nothing to with God or religion.

What is Alef in the Bible?

As I mentioned, aleph is the first letter and the master of all other Hebrew letters. It is first and considered by Jewish theologians to actually be made in the image of God. In fact, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet spell “father,” which is an example of God at the beginning of all things.

Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left. ‎“It has become standard for a hamza followed by a long ā to be written as two alifs, one vertical and one horizontal.“ (the „horizontal“ alif being the maddah sign). Aleph, in Jewish mysticism, represents the oneness of God. The letter can be seen as being composed of an upper yud, a lower yud, and a vav leaning on a diagonal. The upper yud represents the hidden and ineffable aspects of God while the lower yud represents God’s revelation and presence in the world.

Language Learning

It is because I care a lot about Freedom of Speech. In fact, this is the main reason I decided to open this blog. On that note, let me share with you one last detail on the letter Alef before I sign off. Remember earlier in this article when I said that the shape and names of the Hebrew letters are based on ancient pictograms? Well, the third letter in the name of the letter Alef is Peh which means mouth. The root א-ל (Alef-Lamed) also comprises one of the most fundamental words in Hebrew and Jewish vocabulary – the word אֵל which means god.

style of writing

With the letters Beit, Kaf and Pei, however, the dagesh indicates that the letter should be pronounced with its hard sound rather than its soft sound . In Ashkenazic pronunciation , Tav also has a soft sound, and is pronounced as an „s“ when it does not have a dagesh. That’s why you may have heard people speak of the female coming-of-age ceremony as a bas mitzvah instead of a bat mitzvah. The ritual of circumcision is most commonly referred to as a bris. With Vav, as we saw above, it usually indicates a „u“ sound instead of the usual „v“ sound.

What is the Hebrew symbol for God?

The Tetragrammaton (/ˌtɛtrəˈɡræmətɒn/; from Ancient Greek τετραγράμματον (tetragrámmaton) ‚[consisting of] four letters‘), or the Tetragram, is the four-letter Hebrew theonym יהוה‎ (transliterated as YHWH), the name of God in the Hebrew Bible.

All our audio files can be slowed down and sped up to match your speaking and listening needs. This character is a Other Letter and is mainly used in the Hebrew script. By „HTML,“ I mean HTML and lightweight HTML markup languages, such as AsciiDoc and Markdown. In 1874 Cantor showed that there is more than one level of infinity and started using ℵ, followed by a subscript, to represent different levels of infinity. The two tables below list some ways to insert these characters. You can use the third column of these tables to see how the web browser you are using right now supports these different markup methods.


These dots and dashes are written above, below or inside the letter, in ways that do not alter the spacing of the line. Text containing these markings is referred to as „pointed“ text. Please look it over again when you have the time, or print this out so you can learn it offline.

There is another style commonly used when writing Hebrew by hand, often referred to as Hebrew cursive or Hebrew manuscript. Table 4 shows the complete Hebrew alphabet in a font that emulates Hebrew cursive. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, five of which use different forms at the end of a word. The main difference between these is that ALEF SYMBOL is part of a left-to-right directionality character set and HEBREW LETTER ALEF is part of a right-to-left directionality character set.

  • This system of dots and lines is known as niqqud, a Hebrew word which means „applying dots“.
  • They invented the niqqud to make sure that the „correct“ pronunciation of the Bible would not be lost.
  • Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left.
  • In order to avoid confusion with the Bet/Vet pronunciation, in this lesson only there will be a dot in the Tav in the end of the word bat.
  • Kaf, Mem, Nun, Peh and Tzadeh all are written differently when they appear at the end of a word than when they appear in the beginning or middle of the word.

Alef-bet is more than a child’s introduction to modern Hebrew; it is also a joyous portrait of a special BTC family. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO LEARN A LANGUAGE. Enrich the conversation in your home by adding a little Hebrew. The resources below offer some fun ways to begin exploring the exciting world of alefs and bets. Unlock interactive assessments that test you on all of the Hebrew you’ve learned so far.


There’s one more thing you will need to know about the Hebrew alphabet. When hey appears at the end of a word, it is normally silent. This represents the one, unique and indivisible G-d who alone is timeless and changeless. Each letter is a symbol, full of many inner meanings, from literal straightforward meaning, to deeper spiritual meaning. (from the word nekuda in Hebrew, which means “dot” or “period”).

The aleph is formed by two yods, one to the upper right and the other to the lower left, joined by a diagonal vav. In Hebrew, vowels appear as dots and bars above, beneath or to the left of letters. This system of dots and lines is known as niqqud, a Hebrew word which means „applying dots“. It was devised by a group of early Medieval Jewish scribes and Bible scholars known as the Masoretes (masoret means „tradition“ in Hebrew). They invented the niqqud to make sure that the „correct“ pronunciation of the Bible would not be lost.

  • When it is all by itself, without any vowel indicator or another letter, there is no way of telling how to pronounce it.
  • They are good options since they frequently combine both audio and written learning for a well-rounded approach giving you a more practical experience using the new letters.
  • Hebrew cursive is easy to write and its letters are not attached to each other as in English.
  • Aleph, in Jewish mysticism, represents the oneness of God.

In order to be actually able to pronounce words, you need vowels. K’tav Ivri is understood to be in the nature of a font, like Rashi script, rather than in the nature of a different alphabet, like Greek, Cyrillic or Roman. The style of writing illustrated above is the one most commonly seen in Hebrew books. It is referred to as block print, square script or sometimes Assyrian script.

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