Lesson 3: Spitting Image of Each Other

Learning to read Hebrew isn’t too difficult, but one challenging aspect is just how similar so many of the letters look to one another. In this lesson, we are going to look at 5 letters where this is the case so we can tackle the “spitting image” problem head on. Since we are adding 5 new letters, there will be no new vowels in today’s lesson. 

Yud: Young

Zayin: Zig Zag

Vav: Very Straight

Resh: Rounded

Dalet: Diving Board

י

ז

ו

ר

ד

Dalet (ד)

The letter DALET makes a “d” sound like dog. The top is long and straight and protrudes out slightly at the angle. DALET looks exactly like a diving board which is why we refer to this letter as DIVING BOARD DALET. Here’s a picture of the pool and ladder I draw for my students so you can visualize exactly what I mean.  I swear…my artistic abilities get worse and worse each passing year. 

diving board dalet

Resh (ר)

The letter RESH looks extremely similar to DALET; however, RESH is rounded at the top, hence the name ROUNDED RESH. It’s the best way to differentiate RESH from DALET because DALET is straight at the top. RESH makes a “r” sound like rainbow. 

Vav (ו)

VAV’S lines are very straight which is why we named this letter VERY STRAIGHT VAV. The top line is slightly shorter than DALET’S top line and it doesn’t protrude out like DALET’S  line does. Other than that, it is very similar. VAV makes a “v” sound like violin. VAV is a common letter and you will see it used in multiple forms down the line, so I recommend making sure you have this letter completely memorized before moving on to future lessons. 

Zayin (ז)

We can refer to the letter ZAYIN as ZIG ZAG ZAYIN. Now, let’s be honest. The term zig zag is a bit of a stretch here because the top line is actually on a diagonal and not so much a zig zag. But, it’s not easy to come up with good alliteration for a letter starting with “z”. Plus, zig zag is catchy. The letter ZAYIN makes a “z” sound like zebra. And again, to clarify, whereas the top line of the letter VAV is short, straight, and horizontal, the top line of the letter ZAYIN is diagonal. 

Yud (י)

The letter YUD is a bit of an outlier in our “spitting image” lesson. Why? Because it is half the size of every other Hebrew letter. It’s a baby-sized letter. And that is why we call it YOUNG YUD. YUD also looks identical to an apostrophe. YUD makes a “y” sound like yo-yo. I would say YUD is kind of like the fraternal twin to the rest of these letters. There are definitely similarities to the other letters we learned in this lesson, but it’s unique in that it’s the only letter that is half the size. I’m also teaching YUD to you now because it will come up again in our next lesson when we learn the EE vowel.

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Click LESSON 4: SHHHH! to continue!