Hebrew Letters | Hebrew Alphabet
Learn the Hebrew Letters and the Hebrew Alphabet in this free online tutorial with alphabet cards and videos for learning Hebrew. Print the Hebrew letter chart.
The Hebrew alphabet is the starting place for learning the Hebrew language.
Once you learn the Hebrew letters, you'll be able to read Hebrew by 'sounding out' words you see, which is probably the way you learned to read your mother-tongue language. When you know the Hebrew letters, learning words will be easy.
Everything you need to learn the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet is on this page.
Use the Table of Contents, or just scroll down to see everything.
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Hebrew Letter Chart - The AlephBet - האלפבית
The Hebrew Alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet is called the Aleph-Bet (אלפבית), and it is named for the first two letters of the Jewish alphabet – the Aleph and the Bet.
The English word alphabet came from the Hebrew word! Today, the Aleph-Bet contains the alphabet of ancient Hebrew, of Biblical Hebrew, and some modern additions to the language.
Once you learn the Hebrew alphabet, you can begin to read the most famous Hebrew documents in the world – the Dead Sea Scrolls – which were written more than 2,100 years ago. These are the oldest manuscripts of the Bible in existence and they are written in the same Hebrew that you will learn right here. The purity of the Hebrew language has been preserved like no other language in the world. (Consider the fact that most native English speakers cannot read manuscripts written in Old English from just a thousand years ago.)
The modern Hebrew alphabet contains:
5 letters that change their form when used at the end of a word (Sofit)
3 letters that change pronunciation when a dot (Dagesh) is added in the middle of the letter
In the pictures below, you'll find printable cards for the 22 Hebrew alphabet letters, the five letters with Sofit (final) forms, and the Dagesh (dot).
Each card has a picture that helps as a memory clue to recognize the letter. Many of the images represent words that are pronounced the same in English and in Hebrew, or are very similar. Some pictures will be familiar to you from Judaism.
On this page you will find the online tutorial for learning all the Hebrew letters. The flash cards for all of the alphabet letters match the chart above for easy reference. You may use the cards below for personal use*). Just right-click on the flash card you want, paste it on a document page on your computer, and print. Enjoy!
If you are helping children learn the Hebrew letters, the cards can be used to play the Go Fish game for a fun learning experience.
You can jump to a specific letter by clicking on it here, or just scroll down to see them all:
The Hebrew Letter Aleph
Aleph (אלף) is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet (אלפבית). It is pronounced like the English word olive, except there is an 'f' sound at the end.
Because it's the first letter, it's easy to remember.
In Hebrew, the word for avocado is pronounced the same as the English word. To write the word in Hebrew, you begin with the letter aleph (אלף).
In the flash card below, you are reminded what the letter is when you see the picture of the avocado.
The Hebrew Letter Bet
The Hebrew letter Bet (בית) has a special place in Judaism because it is the first letter of the very first word in the Bible. Rabbis tell many stories about why this is so.
The letter Bet (בית) is pronounced like the letter 'B' or 'V' in English. You'll learn which way it is pronounced when you begin to learn Hebrew words.
Here's a word that you already know how to say in Hebrew: banana. Because no one had ever seen a banana in ancient Israel, there was never a word for it in Hebrew until modern times. When Israel began to import and plant bananas, the word for them was imported as well.
You'll find many words like this in the modern Hebrew language. So, you probably know more Hebrew words than you think you do!
Hebrew Letter Gimel
Camels are mentioned many times in the Bible and the word for camel has been found in very ancient Hebrew writing carved on stones.
In Hebrew, the word for camel is pronounced the way it is in English, except that it begins with a 'G' sound like in the word girl.
The 'G' sound is made with the Hebrew letter Gimel (גימל). The letter Gimel (גימל) even looks a little bit like a camel, so it is an easy letter to remember.
There's no sound for the English letter 'J' in Hebrew. It just doesn't exist in the language. But sometimes, Israelis need to write a foreign word like the name George or the word giraffe.
So, the way this is done is by taking the letter Gimel (גימל) and placing an apostrophe after it. The apostrophe is called a Geresh (גרש).
This doesn't make a new letter in Hebrew; it just provides a way to spell a foreign word properly. (But, not everyone in Israel can actually say the 'J' sound like an English speaker does!)
You won't see the Gimel (גימל) with a Geresh (גרש) very often because it just isn't found in many words written in the Hebrew language. And you won't find it in the Bible or in the Jewish prayer book!
But, if you ever go to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, you'll see it on a sign at the exhibit where the giraffes live.
Hebrew Letter Dalet
The Hebrew letter Dalet (דלת) has the same 'D' sound as in English.
It got its name because it looks like a doorway when the door is opened. In fact, the word dalet (דלת) in Hebrew is the word for this letter and it is also the word for door.
So, when you learn this word, you will know two more words in the Hebrew language.
The Hebrew word for door (דלת) is one of the most ancient words and is found in the Bible where it is used in the account of the Garden of Eden. (The lesson there is that opening a door can lead to something very evil. The second time the word is used in the Bible, opening a door leads to something very good – to Noah's ark.)
Just notice the opened door when you see a dalet (דלת) and you will find that this is a very easy letter to learn.
Hebrew Letter Hey
The Hebrew letter Hey (הא) is for the sound of the letter 'H' in the English language. This letter is probably familiar to you because it is used two times in the four-letter Hebrew name of the God of Israel.
Many, many times in Hebrew you will find the Hey (הא) used at the beginning of other words. When you see this, it is identical to the word the in English. If you want to write 'the alphabet', you just put the Hey (הא) in front of the Hebrew word for alphabet (אלפבית):
It's easy to write the word Hey (הא) because it only has two letters: Hey (הא) and Aleph (אלף).
Hey is also one of the letters found on the spinning dreidel toy used to play a game for Chanukah.
The letter looks a lot like a hockey player. The word hockey is the same in Hebrew as it is in English. In Hebrew, the word begins with the letter hey (הא). So, just remember that hey (הא) is for hockey!
Hebrew Letter Vav
The Hebrew letter Vav (וו) is for the sound of the letter 'V' in the English language. To write the word Vav (וו) in Hebrew, you just write two Vav (וו) letters. In some type fonts used on the Internet, the Vav (וו) doesn't display the top hook to the left – like on the website you are viewing. Don't worry; you'll get used to seeing it both ways.
When the Vav (וו) is used at the beginning of other words, it means and. So, you will see this little Vav (וו) a lot in printed Hebrew.
Sometimes the Vav is used to represent the sound of the English vowel 'O'. You'll find this in the familiar word, shalom (שלום). Mostly, Hebrew is written without vowels. But, when you see a Vav (וו) with a dot on top, the text is showing you that the Vav (וו) is for the vowel sound 'O' in English. (This is a vowel, not a Dagesh.)
In the flash card below, you'll see that the Vav (וו) is used to spell the word vanilla. In Hebrew, the word is pronounced like it is in English, except there is no 'a' sound at the end. The letter looks just like a cone filled with ice cream, doesn't it?
Hebrew Letter Zayin
The Hebrew letter Zayin (זין) is for the 'Z' sound in English.
In the Bible, the word Zayin (זין) also means sword. The letter looks like a sword, doesn't it?
The letter Zayin (זין) is used to spell the word for zebra and that word is pronounced just like it is in English.
When you see the letter, notice that it has a long curving line just like the stripes on a zebra.
Hebrew Letter Chet
The Hebrew letter Chet (חית) is difficult for many English speakers to pronounce because the sound doesn't exist in the English alphabet. It's not pronounced like the 'ch' in the English word cheese. Not at all! To say it correctly, you make a gurgling sound at the back of the throat.
People from Scotland can say the Chet (חית) properly, because it is a sound they use in words like loch, as in the Loch Ness Monster. To hear the Chet (חית) pronounced, just go to the Hebrew Alphabet Video below.
The Chet (חית) is used in many words you probably already know, like L'Chaim – לחיים (to life).
When people try to identify this letter with something in the English alphabet, they will transliterate it as 'H', 'Ch' or 'Kh.' Because Chet (חית) is the first letter in the word Chanukah (חנוכה), this is why you see the name of the holiday spelled different ways when written in English.
Hebrew Letter Tet
The Hebrew letter Tet (טית) is pronounced just like the letter 'T' in the English alphabet.
It is the first letter in the Hebrew word for toast and that word is pronounced just like it is in English.
If you think about it, the letter Tet (טית) is shaped like a toaster, with a space at the top for the toast to pop up.
So, it's easy to remember that Tet (טית) is for toast!
Hebrew Letter Yod
The letter Yod (יוד) is pronounced like the 'Y' in the English word yellow.
Yod (יוד) is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet but it has major significance. The most important word in Judaism and in the Hebrew language begins with this letter – the actual name of the God of Israel.
Like other Hebrew alphabet letters (אותיות האלפבית), many type fonts don't show the little hook at the top (like on this website).
Important Hebrew names begin with the letter Yod (יוד), including:
Jacob (Ya'akov – יעקב)
Israel (Yisrael – ישראל)
Isaac (Yitzchak – יצחק)
Judah (Yehuda – יהודה)
Jewish (Yehudi – יהודי)
Jerusalem (Yerushalayim – ירושלים)
Hebrew Letter Kaf
The Hebrew letter Kaf (כף) is for the sound of the English letter 'C' in the word cat, or for a Kh sound similar to the Chet ((חית)) at the beginning of the word Chanukah (חנוכה).
You'll learn the difference when you get to the last flash card for the Dagesh.
But for now, learn that the Kaf (כף) looks like a reversed letter 'C' in the English language. The Kaf (כף) begins the word for canary in Hebrew and that word is pronounced almost exactly the same as it is in the English. The letter even looks a little like the canary in the flash card below.
Hebrew Letter Kaf Sofit
The Kaf (כף) changes its shape when it is at the end of a word. The final form is called a Kaf Sofit (כף סופית). The word Sofit (סופית) means final or end.
Like the letter Kaf (כף), it is pronounced either with a 'K' sound or a 'Kh' like the end of the name of the musical composer Bach.
The most important word in Judaism which uses the Kaf Sofit (כף סופית) is the name for the Bible – the Tanakh (תנ"ך). Tanakh (תנ"ך) is an acronym made up from the beginning letters of the three parts of the Hebrew Bible:
Torah (תורה) Law
Nevi'm (נביאים) Prophets
Ketuvim (כתובים) Writings
You can see the complete Tanakh (תנ"ך) online in Hebrew with English translation at the Tanakh website. The website also has translations in French, Spanish and Portuguese. On the website, you can also listen to any verse in the Bible, read in Hebrew. When you have learned the Hebrew letters, that website will help you learn how to read and pronounce Hebrew words.
Hebrew Letter Lamed
The Hebrew letter Lamed (למד) is pronounced just like the English letter 'L.'
It's the tallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and always stands out.
The word lamed (למד) is also the word for 'why?' in Hebrew. And why is that? Because everyone wants to know why the lamed stands so high above the other letters! Why, oh why?
In Hebrew, the word lemon starts with a lamed (למד) and is pronounced like the English word, except the accent is on the last syllable and the 'o' is really said like an 'o.' In Hebrew, the word lemon rhymes with cone.
Hebrew Letter Mem
The Hebrew letter Mem (מם) sounds exactly like the 'M' in the English alphabet. It is said that the symbol came from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic for the word water. The Phoenician word for water is mem. In Hebrew, the word for water is mayim (מים).
In many languages, the word for mother starts with a Mem sound. In Hebrew, the word for mother is ima (אמא).
It's sometimes said that the universal language is music. The word for music in Hebrew starts with the letter Mem and is pronounced like the English word, except you say 'ah' at the end.
Hebrew Letter Mem Sofit
The Hebrew letter Mem Sofit (מם סופית) is used when the Mem (מם) comes at the end of a word. It sounds exactly the same as the Mem (מם).
In fact, when you write the letter Mem (מם) in Hebrew, it only has two letters: the Mem (מם) and the Mem Sofit (מם סופית).
It's easy to tell them apart: The Mem (מם) is open at the bottom (because the word isn't finished yet) and the Mem Sofit (מם סופית) is closed at the bottom, because it is always the final letter and it closes the word.
Hebrew Letter Nun
The Hebrew letter Nun (נון) sounds just like the English letter 'N' and the name of the letter is pronounced like the English word noon.
The letter is on the Chanukah dreidel, so you probably already know this letter.
The letter Nun (נון) is the first letter in the word for Ninja. (Yes, that's a Hebrew word now, too!) Look at the picture in the flash card below. The letter Nun looks just like the Ninja. And, notice how the 'J' sound is made with a Gimel (גימל) and a Geresh (גרש).
Hebrew Letter Nun Sofit
The letter Nun Sofit (נון סופית) is the final form of the letter Nun (נון) and you use this letter at the end of a word.
See: It's the last letter in the word for Nun - נון.
Some type fonts display the Nun Sofit (נון סופית) without the hook at the top, like on this website. You'll see it printed both ways.
It's also the last letter in the Hebrew word for balloon (בלון), which is pronounced just like the word in English. The Nun Sofit (נון סופית) kind of looks like a balloon with a long string.
Hebrew Letter Samekh
The Hebrew letter Samekh or Samech (סמך) is pronounced like the letter 'S' in the English alphabet, as in the word sun. In fact, the letter Samekh (סמך) looks like the sun. In some font styles, like on this website, the Samekh (סמך) looks like the English letter 'O.'
The Hebrew word for sandal begins with the letter Samekh (סמך).
The Samekh (סמך) looks a little like a sandal and the word for sandal in Hebrew is pronounced just like it is in English. So, you already know how to say another word in Hebrew.
Hebrew Letter Ayin
The Hebrew letter Ayin (עין) doesn't really have an equivalent sound in any English letter. The beginning of the letter sounds a little like the word eye in English, but it is a deeper sound and is made by opening the back of the throat and using a deep voice.
To hear the Ayin (עין) pronounced, just go to the Hebrew Alphabet Video below.
In Hebrew, the word for eye (עין) is exactly the same as the word for the letter Ayin (עין). If you will remember that the Ayin (עין) sounds a little like the word eye in English, it will be easy to remember.
Hebrew Letter Pey or Fey
The Hebrew Letter Pey or Fey (פא) is either pronounced like the letter 'P' or the letter 'F' in English. You learn which way to say it just by learning Hebrew words.
Sometimes you will see the letter with a Dagesh (דגש) – a dot in the middle of the letter – and this will tell you exactly which pronunciation to use. But mostly, when you see Hebrew printed, it will be without the Dagesh (דגש).
That might sound confusing, but it really isn't. The words you learn will teach you how to pronounce the Pey (פא).
Take the word pizza, for example. It is pronounced just like the word in English, so you already know that the 'P' sound is used.
Hebrew Letter Fey Sofit
When the letter Fey (פא) is needed at the end of a word, the Fey Sofit (פא סופית) is used. This letter is always pronounced like the letter 'F' in English.
Some people think it looks a little like the English letter 'F' in reverse.
Like all Sofit (סופית) letters, you will only find it at the end of a word. The Fey Sofit (פא סופית) is found at the end of the very first word you learned in the Hebrew alphabet (האלפבית), the letter Aleph (אלף). So, you should already recognize it.
Hebrew Letter Tzade
The Hebrew letter Tzade (צדי) is sometimes spelled Tsade when written in English. That's because the sound it makes is like 'ts' in English, as in the word cats.
The letter is easy to recognize because the tail looks just like the bottom of the English letter 'Z', in reverse.
You are probably already familiar with this letter because it begins the word Tzadakah (צדקה), an extremely important word in Judaism. The word is often translated as charity, but that isn't exactly what it means. It really means justice. And it means that the less fortunate people among us deserve our help and, under Biblical law, have an absolute right to have our help. That is true justice.
Every Jewish home has a Tzadakah (צדקה) box to collect money to help other people. Most homes have several of them, one for each family member's Tzadakah (צדקה) obligation and one for each cause the family supports. If you look on your Tzadakah (צדקה) box, you'll probably see the letter Tzade (צדי) .
Hebrew Letter Tzade Sofit
When the letter Tzade (צדי) is needed at the end of a word, the Tzade Sofit (צדי סופית) is used.
This letter looks a little like a tree and is used to write the word tree (etz) in Hebrew: עץ.
It's easy to remember that this is a Tzade (צדי) because, since 1901, Jews around the world have collected Tzadakah (צדקה) to plant trees in Israel through the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The special blue Tzadakah boxes for this purpose have been in Jewish homes for more than 100 years!
Planting trees in Israel creates more oxygen for people to breathe and increases rainfall so people have water to drink. Wild animals need the trees, too! For two thousand years people cut down trees for wood, but didn't replant them. So, Israel was left without very many trees.
The money collected for the JNF charity is used for reforestation in the land of Israel (ארץ ישראל). The Hebrew word for land (which is where you plant trees) is eretz (ארץ).
Hebrew Letter Kof
The Hebrew letter Kof (קוף) is sometimes spelled Qof in English, because the English letters 'Q' and 'K' sound so much alike.
Some people say that the letter was named Kof (קוף) because it looks like the eye of a sewing needle. In fact, the word for needle in Hebrew is spelled exactly the same as the name for the letter Kof (קוף), but it is pronounced Kuf.
The word pronounced exactly the same as the word for the letter Kof (קוף) is the word for monkey in Hebrew. That word is found twice in the Hebrew Bible. Do you think a monkey looks like the letter Kof? Many people do.
You already know how to say a word in Hebrew which begins with the letter Kof (קוף): It is the word for kangaroo. The word is pronounced just like it is in the English language.
Hebrew Letter Resh
The Hebrew letter Resh (ריש) is pronounced just like the letter 'R' in the English language. It looks like the 'r' in English, only in reverse. (If you consider the fact that English is written left-to-right and Hebrew is written right-to-left, that makes perfect sense.)
In Israel, many people pronounce the Resh with a trilled 'R' sound, like in the Spanish language. So, you'll hear it pronounced like that, too.
The letter comes from a very ancient pictograph where the 'R' sound was represented by the symbol for a person's head, looking sideways. The word for head in Hebrew is rosh (ראש). The Hebrew word is also used for the 'head' of something, like the head of a company.
When learning the Hebrew alphabet, sometimes students are confused by the differences between the letters Dalet (דלת) and Resh (ריש). Look at the image at the right. Can you see the differences? If not, it might be time to see the optometrist for a new pair of glasses! It's not really a joke; it happens often when a person first starts to learn the Hebrew alphabet (האלפבית).
You already know a Hebrew word which begins with the letter Resh (ריש): It is the word Rabbi. Because the word is from the Hebrew languge, it is pronounced just like it is in English.
Hebrew Letter Shin or Sin
The Hebrew letter Shin (שין) is also the letter Sin (pronounced like the word seen in English). So, it is either pronounced like 'Sh' or like 'S' in the English language. For example, in the familiar word Shalom (שלום), the Shin (שין) is pronounced with an 'Sh' sound and in the word Israel (ישראל) the Shin (שין) is pronounced with an 'S' sound.
If the Shin (שין) has a dot on the top right or left, you'll know how to pronounce the letter. Otherwise, you'll recognize what to say just from the Hebrew words you learn.
There's an account in the Bible about how the Shin (שין) received two different pronunciations. The historical record is found in the twelfth chapter of the book of Judges (שופטים) in the year 1100 BCE. Two dialects had emerged within the tribes of Israel (ישראל) just like dialects are found in different regions in America or England. During a civil war among the tribes, members of opposing tribes were identified by the way they pronounced the letter Shin (שין) in the Hebrew word for grain growing on plants in the field – Shibboleth (שבלת).
When the Hebrew Bible was translated into English and printed, less than 500 years ago, the word Shibboleth became an English word to denote jargon only insider members of a group would know.
The letter Shin (שין) has had the same shape in the Hebrew alphabet (האלפבית) for at least four thousand years, since the days of Abraham.
It is the first letter in the word Shalom (שלום), which is translated as Peace, Hello (peaceful greetings), and goodbye (go in peace).
Hebrew Letter Tav
The Hebrew letter Tav (תו) is the last letter of the alphabet. It is also the last letter of the term for the Hebrew alphabet (האלפבית).
The Jewish expression for exploring something thoroughly is 'from Aleph (אלף) to Tav (תו).' It's like saying 'from A to Z' in English.
The letter Tav (תו) sounds just like the letter 'T' in English. In Hebrew, it also represents the sound for 'th.' In the years before Hebrew was revived as a modern, everyday language, the ability to pronounce 'th' was lost and most Israelis can't make that sound at all! Yiddish preserved it somewhat in that the 'th' usage of the Tav (תו) became an 'S' sound in Yiddish.
The Tav (תו) is used for the word for tea in Hebrew. But, in Hebrew the word is pronounced tay.
Hebrew Dagesh Video
The Hebrew Dagesh (דגש)
The Hebrew Dagesh (דגש) is a dot placed inside a Hebrew letter which tells you which version of pronunciation to use when a letter can have more than one sound.
You will seldom see letters with a Dagesh (דגש), though, because printed Hebrew just doesn't use the symbol. But, when learning Hebrew, many people find the Dagesh (דגש) is helpful. You will find that it is added in Jewish prayer books used in countries outside of the land of Israel (ארץ ישראל).
The letters Dalet (דלת) and Gimel (גימל) can be written with a Dagesh (דגש), but these are for archaic pronunciations that you are unlikely to encounter. The Pey Sofit (פא סופית) also has a Dagesh (דגש), but that letter is so rare you will probably never see it in your lifetime.
The letters using a Dagesh (דגש) on the chart below are the ones you are most likely to see used in the Jewish prayer book and in printed texts used for education.
The Hebrew letter Shin (שין) also uses a dot, but it isn't called a Dagesh (דגש); it is called a Nikud (נקוד). In teaching English speakers, it is also called the 'Shin Dot' or the 'Sin Dot.' A dot by any other name is still a dot. It tells you how to pronounce the letter in a specific word.
Learning the Hebrew letters opens the door to speaking, reading and writing in the Hebrew language (Evrit – עברית). Each letter (Ot – אוֹת) is a building block for words.
Repetition is the key to learning any language. Below you will find videos and coloring pages which repeat the letters (Otot – אותיות) and will help you continue the learning process.
How do you pronounce the Hebrew letters? Watch this video from the Hebrew Sesame Street TV show in Israel. The show is called Shalom Sesame!
Hebrew Letter Coloring Pages Videos
Hebrew Letters Coloring Pages
Coloring Pages (also known as colouring sheets in UK English and as דפי צביעת in Hebrew) are a fun way for children to learn the Hebrew letters.
The time a child spends focusing on the shape of each letter while coloring is a learning process that cements the letter in the child's mind.
These Hebrew letter coloring pages are without other pictures, so a child can explore creativity as well.
You can right-click to copy the Hebrew letter coloring page, paste it to a document on your computer, and print it for personal use*, to use in a classroom, for home schooling, or for after-school play.
Before you print these out, watch the videos about Hebrew letter coloring pages and see how children created their own artwork with the letters. In the second video, a little girl also pronounces each letter and sings a Hebrew alphabet song.
You can jump to a specific letter's coloring page by clicking on it here, or just scroll down to see them all:
Hebrew Alphabet Cards
The Hebrew alphabet cards below are without the word or picture clues. You can use these to help with letter recognition. If you print them out and shuffle them like a deck of cards, you'll see how well you can recognize the letters in random order. Online, they are in alphabetical order, according to the Hebrew alphabet (AlephBet -אלפבית).
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