“What is the Hebrew Language?”

torah-books1

(The Torah in Hebrew)

Hebrew is the traditional language of the Jewish people. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet (commonly referred to as the aleph-bet, after the first two letters, aleph and bet). In addition, the language includes five final letters: When the letters khaf, mem, nun, pey, and tzade are the last letters of a word, they are written differently.

Hebrew is a Semitic language like Arabic and Aramaic and like most ancient Semitic languages its alphabet has no vowels. However, sometime between the middle and end of the first millennium, rabbis known as the Masoretes instituted a system of dots and dashes to indicate how words were to be pronounced. Torah scrolls and most contemporary Hebrew writing are still written without vowels.

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