Hebrew alphabet chart can it help? easy, fun – the best!

Hebrew alphabet chart can it help? Easy and fun! 123

If I had a dollar for every time a person asked me if a “Hebrew alphabet chart can it help?” I would be very wealthy! I always answer, “Most definitely”! It is a fantastic tool to have in the house for a person who is beginning to learn the Hebrew alphabet. It is so helpful! The Hebrew alphabet can be revised before bed or even at the breakfast table. 

Although it was not a Hebrew alphabet chart or alphabet poster, my mother-in-law made a beautiful cross-stitch English alphabet chart for her new grandson. It allowed him to learn the alphabet in a relaxed way. I remember wishing that it would be great for him to have something similar in Hebrew. 

Hebrew alphabet chart can it help?

It is a resounding ‘yes’! I have spoken to a number of students who had one hanging, either in their bedroom or study, and gave it the ‘thumbs up’. These students loved that they could look at the Hebrew alphabet chart and learn the letters as they lay in bed or sitting in their study. It reinforced the letters, such as the aleph and the bet (and all the others too).

The second half of the question, “Hebrew alphabet chart, can it help?” needs to be rephrased to “how can it help?” There are so many ways a Hebrew alphabet chart can help a person learn to recognise and pronounce the Hebrew letters as it is called in Hebrew, the Alef Bet. Firstly, it has each Hebrew letter on the chart, such as the alef, the bet and the gimmel. 

Who can use the Hebrew alphabet chart?

I am going to be bold and say that almost everyone could use one. I have taught so many people Hebrew, including a 75-year-old lady. She had visited Israel many times in her life and had always wanted to learn how to read biblical Hebrew and to read from the Torah. Whilst she had never had a Bat Mitzvah, she was keen to study ancient paleo Hebrew. 

Initially, I thought that this was a hobby for her because she was retired. However, it became more than a hobby. It became her passion! After the first lesson, she telephoned me (we did not have email then!) and asked me to make her a Hebrew alphabet chart for her wall. I did so, and it was remarkable how quickly she learned the pronunciation of each letter. 

More than just Hebrew letters!

What some people do not know is the Hebrew alphabet is far more than simply letters that are used in Hebrew text. Each Hebrew letter has a numerical value known as gematria. Gematria is utilised as a way to comprehend the Hebrew texts on a deeper and more spiritual level, giving it a deeper meaning. The letter meanings help some people interpret the text. 

It involves reading words and sentences and giving each a numerical value as numbers. For example, the letter aleph is equal to 1. The letter bet is equal to two, and so on. It is frequently used in Jewish texts such as the Talmud and the Mishnah. A very well-known example of gematria is the word khai (kheit = 8 and yod = 10) is equivalent to the number 18. 

The Hebrew word for Khai is ‘life’; Jewish people traditionally give gifts for meaningful Jewish celebrations such as Bar/Bat Mitzvahs or weddings in multiples of 18. It is one way of wishing a person a long and healthy life. It is fun to watch a Bar/Bat Mitzvah kid’s face when they try and work out why they have been given a gift of $54 (3 x Khai), not $50 or $60. 

Learning modern Hebrew using an alphabet chart

I will never forget when I was living in Israel; I was staying with a family who had young children (aged 3 and 5). They had a Hebrew alphabet chart in their bedroom! Just like the one I was referring to earlier! Every morning their mum or dad would come into their bedroom and learn new letters. They would also revise what they had already learnt.

Looking back, it now makes sense. Just like kids in other countries, kids in Israel need to learn to read their language too. It just happens to be Hebrew! However, they need to learn two different types of scripts. One is the script that is used in textbooks, newspapers and so on. 

The other script is the one they use for writing, referred to as ‘cursive’. Unlike English, it is completely different to the script that is used in the text. They are essentially having to learn to read two different types of letters. There are two different types of Hebrew letters because the cursive is much quicker to write than block Hebrew.

In Israel, the children start by learning to write in block Hebrew using the vowels (known as nikud), but as they become older, they transition to Hebrew cursive and do not use the vowels at all. It is necessary since all written Hebrew text in Israel (with the exception of newspapers for beginners) is written without vowels.

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