Hebrew (and Yiddish) offers a various alphabet than English. The photo to the appropriate illustrates the Hebrew alphabet, in Hebrew alphabet order. Note that Hebrew is written from appropriate to left, fairly than left to appropriate as in English, therefore Alef is the very first letter the the Hebrew alphabet and Tav is the last. The Hebrew alphabet is often referred to as the "alef-bet," due to the fact that of its first two letters.

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Note the there are two version of some letters. Kaf, Mem, Nun, Peh and also Tzadeh all room written in different way when they show up at the end of a indigenous than as soon as they show up in the start or middle of the word. The version offered at the finish of a word is referred to as last Kaf, final Mem, etc. The variation of the letter on the left is the final version. In all instances except last Mem, the final version has a long tail.

- Vowels and Points - styles of writing - Transliteration - Numerical values of Words

Vowels and Points

Like most early on Semitic alphabetic writing systems, the alef-bet has no vowels. Civilization who room fluent in the language perform not require vowels to review Hebrew, and most points written in Hebrew in Israel space written without vowels.


However, together Hebrew literacy declined, particularly after the Romans expelled the Jews indigenous Israel, the Rabbis realized the require for aids to pronunciation, therefore they developed a system of dots and dashes known as nikkudim (points). These dots and also dashes room written above or below the letter, in methods that do not transform the spacing of the line. Message containing this markings is referred to as "pointed" text.

Most nikkudim are used to indicate vowels. The table at best illustrates the collection points, together with their pronunciations. Pronunciations space approximate; I have actually heard fairly a bit of sports in vowel pronunciation.

Vowel point out are displayed in blue. The letter Alef, presented in red, is offered to show the position of the points relative to the consonents. The letters shown in purple room technically consonents and would show up in unpointed texts, yet they duty as collection in this context.

There space a few other nikkudim, illustrated and explained below.

The dot that appears in the center of part letters is called a dagesh. With most letters, the dagesh does not significantly affect pronunciation. Through the letters Bet, Kaf and also Pe, however, the dagesh suggests that the letter must be pronounced v its difficult sound (the first sound) quite than the soft sound (the second sound). In Ashkenazic together (the pronunciation supplied by many Orthodox Jews and also by enlarge Jews), Tav also has a soft sound, and also is pronounced together an "s" when it walk not have actually a dagesh.

Vav, typically a consonant pronounced together a "v," is periodically a collection pronounced "oo" (u) or "oh" (o). When it is pronounce "oo", spicy texts have actually a dagesh. Once it is express "oh", pointed texts have actually a period on top.

Shin is express "sh" once it has a dot over the best branch and "s" once it has a dot over the left branch.


Styles the Writing

The format of composing illustrated over is the one most typically seen in Hebrew books. The is described as block publish or periodically Assyrian text.

For sacred documents, such as Torah scrolls or the scrolls inside tefillin and also mezuzot, over there is a special writing format with "crowns" (crows-foot-like marks coming up from the upper points) on countless of the letters. This format of writing is recognized as STA"M (an abbreviation for "Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and also Mezuzot," which is where you will check out that layout of writing.

There is another style offered for handwriting, in lot the same means that cursive is used for the roman (English) alphabet. This contemporary script layout is portrayed below, at right.

Another format is provided in particular texts to differentiate the body of the message from comment upon the text. This style is known as Rashi Script, in honor of Rashi, the biggest commentator on the Torah and also the Talmud. The alefbet in ~ left is an instance of Rashi Script




The process of writing Hebrew words in the roman inn (English) alphabet is recognized as transliteration.

Transliteration is an ext an art than a science, and also opinions top top the correct means to transliterate words vary widely. This is why the Jewish festival of lights (in Hebrew, Chet-Nun-Kaf-Heh) is spelledChanukkah, Hannukah, Hanukkah, and many other exciting ways. Every spelling has a legitimate phonetic and also orthographic basis; none is ideal or wrong.

Numerical values of Words

Each letter in the alefbet has actually a number value. This values have the right to be used to compose numbers, as the Romans supplied some that their letters (I, V, X, L, C, M) to represent numbers. Alef through Yod have actually the values 1 through 10. Yod through Qof have actually the worths 10 with 100, counting by 10s. Qof through Tav have actually the values 100 with 400, counting by 100s. Last letters have the same value together their non-final counterparts.

The number 11 would be rendered Yod-Alef, the number 12 would certainly be Yod-Bet, the number 21 would certainly be Kaf-Alef, the word Torah (Tav-Vav-Resh-He) has the numerical value 611, etc. The only significant oddity in this pattern is the number 15, i beg your pardon if rendered as 10+5 would be a surname of G-d, so it is generally written Tet-Vav (9+6). The bespeak of the letters is irrelevant to their value; letters are simply included to recognize the total numerical value. The number 11 can be composed as Yod-Alef, Alef-Yod, Heh-Vav, Dalet-Dalet-Gimmel or many other combine of letters.

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Because that this device of assigning numerical values to letters, every word has a number value. Over there is whole discipline the Jewish mysticism recognized as Gematria that is committed to detect hidden interpretations in the numerical values of words. Because that example, the number 18 is very significant, due to the fact that it is the numerical value of words Chai, definition life. Donations to Jewish charities are routinely made in denominations of 18 for the reason.