The Hebrew Alphabet -
The Hebrew Letter Bet (ב)


The Hebrew Letter Bet (ב)

The letter Bet is the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the first letter of the Hebrew Bible. This letter is actually the source of the Greek letter Beta, as you can see by the similarities in the two letters’ names. The English letter “B” is therefore ultimately derived from Bet, as well. Being the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the Bet has the numerical value of two, and the name of the letter itself comes from the fact that it is shaped like a house, which is called a “bayit” in the Hebrew language. This may make it easy to remember the name and sound of the Bet if you are first learning the Hebrew alphabet or learning the Hebrew language, and it gives you another word to add to your Hebrew vocabulary list, as well!

The Bet is generally pronounced like a “B,” but sometimes, if it doesn’t have a dot (called a “dagesh” in Hebrew) in the middle, it then becomes the Hebrew letter Vet and has a “V” sound. These sounds are often similar in many world languages. In Spanish, for example, the “B” may often sound more like a “V” and vice versa. While the letter is almost universally pronounced as “Bet,” there are variations on the pronunciation of the letter’s name. According to some Ashkenazic pronunciations, for example, it would either be pronounced “Beit” or “Beis.”

There are many stories as to why Bet is the first letter of the Hebrew Bible and not Aleph, which is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While some say it was due to Aleph’s humility, another theory explains that G-d decided to start the Bible with the letter Bet in order to show man that he did not know the first thing about how the world works! Due to the fact that Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and perhaps for other spiritual reasons as well, in Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) teachings, the Bet represents the duality of nature present in all of creation.

Read about the letter Gimel ג 



Learn the Hebrew Alphabet with a video


Log In

Lost your password?


Test yourself - how well can you manage in Hebrew?

How do you read the name of the following letter?

Do you recognize all of the following letters?
א – ש – ד – ג – ץ – ף - ס

Which of the following letters is not a special "final letter"?

How do you read the following word?

Can you differentiate between the following words and do you know what each word means?
שֶׁמֶשׁ – שַׁמָשׁ

How do you read the following word?

Which of the following words is not plural?

Complete the sentence:
אני ________ את הספר על השולחן

The meaning of the Hebrew word שְׁלֵמִים is:

Complete the sentence:
אֲנִי אוֹהֶבֶת _________ יִשְׂרָאֵל.

Log In