The Family Families of the Hebrew Alphabet

It’s your first lesson in Hebrew.  Perhaps you are in a classroom situation, or perhaps you are trying to learn from a book or online.  For some reason, in the first lesson, they think it is ok to throw 22 letters at you and pretend that they will stick on your brain.  They throw 22 different shapes at you and insist that you not only should know them but be able to manipulate them into words by the next lesson.  

Any teaching course will tell you that students learn in clusters of five to seven items.  That is why I have developed a method for you to learn the Hebrew letters in terms of their shapes.  It makes sense.  if you don’t know the alphabet yet, the letters are only weird shapes to you.  The idea is to make it all less overwhelming.  

I have been able to break down the letters of the Hebrew alphabet into five categories of shapes.  I like to call them The Five Families because everything about Hebrew is about families.  You have the Horn family, the Square family, the circle family, the Staff family, and of course, the Unique family.  

For instance, א is part of the Horn family.  Why?  Because it has two horns.  There are only three letters in the Hebrew alphabet who have horns.  א  ע  צ

So right now, if you looked at the Hebrew alphabet, you could pick out the Horn family.

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת

By learning to see the shapes of the Hebrew alphabet, you are mapping your brain and preparing it to learn how to recognize the letters by name.




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