Lesson 1: Shabbat Shalom

In Lesson 1, we are going to learn 3 Hebrew letters and the 3 types of AH vowels. Using these 3 letters plus the AH vowel, you will be able to read the Hebrew word Shabbat.

Tav: Toe/Tail

Bet: Belly Button

Shin: Shalosh

ת

ב

שׁ

Shin (שׁ)

The first letter of the word Shabbat is SHIN. It kind of looks like a lowercase “w” because it has 3 arms. We remember this letter as SHALOSH SHIN. That’s because the number 3 in Hebrew is Shalosh and SHIN has those 3 arms. There is a dot right above the arm furthest to the right. SHIN makes a “sh” sound like shark or what you would say if you were telling someone to be quiet. In Hebrew, unlike English, there are a few letters that have a sound that combines two English letters…”sh,” “ts,” and “ch.” 

Bet (בּ)

The second letter in Shabbat is BET. We remember it as BELLYBUTTON BET because you will always find a dot or belly button in the center of this letter. BET makes a “b” sound like basketball. The letter BET has a straight line at the bottom that protrudes out slightly past. Bet looks similar to another letter we will learn later that is rounded at the bottom. It’s good to take note of this now. 

Tav (ת)

The third letter in the word Shabbat is TAV. The letter has 3 sides of a square but the bottom of the square is not completed. Instead, the letter TAV has a TOE or a TAIL that sticks out to the left of the square. TAV makes a “t” sound like television. TAV may or may not have a dot in the middle of the letter; TAV is the only letter in which the dot makes no difference to the sound or name of the letter. It will always be TAV with a “t” sound, dot or no dot. 

AH Vowel #1

AH Vowel #2

AH Vowel #3

ַ

 ֲ  

AH Vowel (sounds like awesome):

All 3 AH vowels have something in common. They all have a horizontal line as part of the vowel. None of the other vowels have horizontal lines; so, if you see one, you automatically know it is an AH vowel.

AH Vowel #1 

I refer to this as the “T” AH vowel because it looks like an uppercase T.

AH Vowel #2

This one is simply a horizontal line.

AH Vowel #3

─ ։

The third AH vowel is a horizontal line with two vertical dots to the right of the line.

How to Read the Word Shabbat

 שַׁבָּת

  (ShAHbAHt)

  1. Read the word from right to left. What is the first letter? SHIN
  2. Immediately look for the corresponding vowel. In this case, SHIN has AH vowel #2 underneath it, so the combined sound (letter + vowel) is ShAH.
  3. The second letter in the word is BET. AH vowel #1 is below BET so we know the sound must be BAH.
  4. The third and final letter in the word is a TAV. There is no vowel associated with the letter. Since it is the last letter in the word and has no corresponding vowel, it is part of the second syllable which is pronounced as BAHt. 
  5. (two syllables)  שַׁבָּת 

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