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Hebrew Alphabet

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The Hebrew alphabet is a set of 22 letters used for writing the Hebrew language. It is has also been used in mildly adapted forms for writing several languages of the Jewish diaspora, most famously Yiddish, Ladino, and Judaeo-Arabic.

The Hebrew Alphabet
Letter Name Translation English Value
א Aleph Ox A or E 1
ב Beth House B 2
ג Gimel Camel G 3
ד Daleth Door D 4
ה Window H 5
ו Vau Nail U, V, W or O 6
ז Zain Sword Z 7
ח Cheth Fence Ch (hard) 8
ט Teth Serpent T 9
י Yod Hand I, E or Y 10
כ Kaph Palm K 20
ך Kaph-final     500
ל Lamed Ox-Goad L 30
מ Mem Water M 40
ם Mem-final     600
נ Nun Fish N 50
ן Nun-final     700
ס Samekh Prop S 60
ע Ayin Eye O 70
פ Mouth P 80
ף Pé-final     800
צ Tzaddi Fish-hook Tz 90
ץ Tzaddi-final     900
ק Qoph Back of Head Q (soft) 100
ר Resh Head R 200
ש Shin Tooth Sh 300
ת Tau Cross TH (soft) 400

Hebrew speakers call their alphabet the aleph-beth (the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet). The number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, their order, their names, and their phonetic values are virtually identical to those of the Aramaic alphabet, as both Hebrews and Arameans borrowed the Phoenician alphabet for their uses during the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

The modern script used for writing Hebrew (usually called the Jewish script by scholars, and also traditionally known as the square script, or the Assyrian script), evolved during the 3rd century BC from the Aramaic script, which was used by Jews for writing Hebrew since the 6th century BC. Prior to that, Hebrew was written using the old Hebrew script, which evolved during the 9th century BC from the Phoenician script.

Table of contents


Both the old Hebrew script and the modern Jewish script have only one case, and some letters have special final forms used only at the end of a word. The Hebrew alphabet is an abjad: vowels are normally not indicated. Where they are it is because a weak consonant such as א aleph̄, ה he, ו vau, or י yod has combined with a previous vowel and become silent or by imitation of such cases in spelling of other forms.

To preserve the proper vowel sounds, scholars developed several different sets of diacritic symbols (points or נקדות nikkud). These points are normally used only for special purposes, such as Biblical books intended for study, in poetry, or when teaching the language to children. The Tiberian system also includes a set of cantillation marks used to indicate how scriptural passages should be chanted, and decorative "crowns" used only for Torah scrolls.

Hebrew letters may also be used as numbers. This use of letters as numbers is used in Qabalah) in a practice known as gematria.

Individual letters

The following list shows the name of the hebrew letter along with its key scale on the Tree of Life as recorded in Liber 777 by Aleister Crowley. The descriptions of the letters are also based on the teachings of Crowley.

11 Alephletter: א = A or E | name: אלף "Ox" | value: 1

12 Bethletter: ב = B | name: בית "House" | value: 2

13 Gimelletter: ג‎ = G | name: גמל‎ "Camel" | value: 3

14 Dalethletter: ד‎ = D | name: דלת‎ "Door" | value: 4

15 letter: ה‎ = H | name: הה "Window" | value: 5

16 Vauletter: ו‎ = U, V, W or O | name: וו‎‎ "Nail" | value: 6

17 Zainletter: ז = Z | name: זין "Sword" | value: 7

18 Chethletter: ח = Ch (hard) | name: חית "Fence" | value: 8

19 Tethletter: ט = T | name: טית "Serpent" | value: 9

20 Yodletter: י = I, E or Y | name: יוד‎‎‎ "Hand" | value: 10

21 Kaphletter: ך כ = K | name: כף "Palm" | value: 20, 500-final

22 Lamedletter: ל = L | name: למד‎ "Ox Goad" | value: 30

23 Memletter: ם מ = M | name: מים "Water" | value: 40, 600-final

24 Nunletter: ן נ = N | name: נון "Fish" | value: 50, 700-final

25 Samekhletter: ס = S | name: סמך "Prop" | value: 60

26 Ayinletter: ע = O | name: עין "Eye" | value: 70

27 letter: ף פ = P | name: פה "Mouth" | value: 80, 800-final

28 Tzaddiletter: ץ‎ צ = Ts or Tz | name: צדי "Fish-hook" | value: 90, 900-final

29 Qophletter: ק = Q (soft) | name: קיף "Back of Head" | value: 100

30 Reshletter: ר‎ = R | name: ריש‎ "Head" | value: 200

31 Shinletter: ש = Sh | name: שין "Tooth" | value: 300

32 Tauletter: ת = Th (soft) | name: תו "Cross" | value: 400

See also


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