First Hebrew letter

The first Hebrew letter in the Hebrew alphabet is quite an interesting and unusual letter.  The first Hebrew letter is called the Aleph. It is an unusual because, quite simply, it is silent. It does not make a sound. The only sound it can make is that of the vowel that is either underneath or next to it. If there is no vowel either underneath or next to it, it is completely silent.

How to recognize an Aleph

Let us have a look at the Aleph. The trick to recognising this letter as being silent, is that the “stripes” that are part of the letter look like band aids. It is like the person has band aids covering his or her mouth, therefore the letter can not be pronounced. It is like it has been muted. So, it is easy to remember this “the first Hebrew letter of the aleph bet is silent”.

If you can remember the “band aids” memory tool, it will make reading a whole lot easier. The question is, what happens when there is an aleph in the middle of a word without a vowel. It can be confusing, as we are so used to having syllable that have letters and vowels together.

How to pronounce an Aleph without a vowel

Let us have a look at the word “B’rei’sheet” , the first word in the Torah. Because the Aleph is silent, the first syllable is “B” , the second is  “Rei”  and the third is “sheet”.  The Aleph is silent. Just a little bit of information, the word “B’reisheet” actually means in the beginning. The spelling in Hebrew for the first word “Rosh” is very similar to the word “B’reisheet”. 

When learning Hebrew, it is so important to be able to recognise letters and to identify the rules attached to them. can really help with that skill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *