Our new letter of the week is תּ (tav) It’s also ת (tav). Confused yet?
In other letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the dot (dageish in Hebrew) changes the sound of the consonant. This is an influence of the language Aramaic and it appears in a number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
This is the case, for example, with the letters we saw last month:
ch sound כ
k sound כּ
It used to be that ת, which was pronounced as “s” by Jews who lived in eastern Europe, while תּ was pronounced as “t”. You may hear some of your older relatives still using the “s” sound when reading blessings. They’re not making a mistake. They’re reading the way they were taught many years ago.
After Hebrew again became an everyday, spoken language, the Academy of Hebrew in Israel decided that modern Hebrew would follow the Sephardic (Jews who lived in countries where Spanish or Arabic were spoken) tradition of pronouncing both ת and תּ with the sound “t”.
Remember that ת = תּ , and you’ll be all set.
l’hitra’ot – See you soon.
Gayle A. Kaplan