Ahavat Ivrit

Love of Hebrew - אהבת עברית

Your Aleph-Bet


Your Hebrew Aleph-Bet

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.

  • א – Aleph; First Letter; Numeric Value = 1
  • בּ– Bet (with Dagesh) or ב – Vet (without Dagesh); Second Letter; Numeric Value = 2
  • ג – Gimmel; Third Letter; Numerical Value = 3
  • ד – Dalet; Fourth Letter; Numerical Value =4
  • ה – Hey; Fifth Letter; Numerical Value =5
  • ו – Vav; Sixth Letter; Numerical Value = 6
  • ז – Zayin; Seventh Letter; Numerical Value = 7
  • ח – Chet; Eighth Letter; Numerical Value =8
  • ט – Tet; Ninth Letter; Numerical Value =9
  • י – Yod; Tenth Letter; Numerical Value =10
  • כּ - Kaf (with Dagesh) or - כ – Khaf (without Dagesh); Eleventh Letter; Numerical Value = 20; Final Form is ךּ or ך
  • ל – Lamed; Twelfth Letter; Numerical Value = 30
  • מ – Mem; Thirteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 40; Final Form is
  • נ – Nun; Fourteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 50; Final Form is ן
  • ס – Samech; Fifteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 60
  • ע – Ayin; Sixteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 70
  • ּּ‬פּ- Pey (with Dagesh) or פ – Fey (without Dagesh); Seventeenth Letter; Numerical Value = 80; Final Form is ף
  • צ – Tsade; Eighteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 90; Final Form is: ץ
  • ק – Qoof; Nineteenth Letter; Numerical Value = 100
  • ר – Reysh; Twentieth Letter; Numerical Value = 200
  • שׁ - Shin or שׂ‬ - Sin; Twentieth-First Letter; Numerical Value = 300
  • ת – Tav; Twenty-Second Letter; Numerical Value = 400
Aleph-Bet Skill Goals

Strive to master and maintain the following skills:

  • Memorize the Hebrew Aleph-Bet – Spoken and Written

  • Ability to look-up words in a Hebrew-English or Hebrew Only Dictionary. Examples include: בַּיִת (house); דֶלֶת (door); מֶלֶך (king); נָבִיא (prophet); שֶׁמֶשׁ (sun).

  • Ability to follow and appreciate the beauty of the Aleph-Bet in Acrostics. Examples include: Psalm 119; Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 145 (missing Nun); Book of Lamentations – Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

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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