The Hebrew Aleph-Bet consists of 22 letters; 5 of these letters have a different form when they are the last letter in a word. Hebrew is written right-to-left using ‘Print’ letters (such as appears in the printed Hebrew Bible, the Chumash, and also in modern books and websites), or ‘Cursive’ (such as used in modern Hebrew when writing a note to someone, or for ads in retail store windows). The beautiful calligraphy of the Torah Scroll includes elements, such as “crowns” on some of the letters. Additional scripts include the ancient ‘Paleo-Hebrew’ and the rabbinic ‘Rashi’.
Each Hebrew letter has a numerical value, and these values are frequently used as “numbers” – ex: Psalm 27 being referred to as Psalm כז (where כ = 20 and ז = 7). The numerical value for a word is also determined by adding up the numerical value of each letter – ex: The word for ‘truth’ is אמת - and this word has a numerical value of 441 (where א=1 and מ=40 and ת=400). Connections between words and concepts based on the numerical value of words form the basis of the discipline of Gematria.
The pronunciation of some letters (hard vs soft) is determined by the presence or absence of a dot (Dagesh Lene) within the letter.
Strive to master and maintain the following skills:
Continually upgrade your skills – if you already know the Aleph-Bet in Block Letters, then learn to read and write Cursive.
Share your current skills and knowledge with someone
Investigate – Which Hebrew letter very frequently begins the first word on Line 1 of Columns in the Torah Scroll?
Memorize the Numeric Values of each Letter, And then be able to quickly find chapters and verses in a Hebrew only Tanach; Be able to quickly calculate (in your head) the numeric value of a Hebrew word
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