By Jeff A. Benner


Ancient Modern
Image Man with arms raised  
Meaning Look, Reveal, Breath  
Name Hey Hey
Sound h, eh h

History & Reconstruction

The original pictograph for this letter is , a man standing with his arms raised out. The Modern Hebrew and original name for this letter is “hey”. The Hebrew word “hey” means “behold”, as when looking at a great sight. This word can also mean “breath” or “sigh” as one does when looking at a great sight. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out.

The Modern Hebrew sound for this letter is “h”. Originally this letter doubled as a consonant, with an “h” sound, or as the vowel sound “eh”. When the Greeks adopted this letter it became the “epsilon” with an “eh” sound.

This letter is commonly used as a prefix to words to mean “the” as in “ha'arets” meaning “the land”. The use of this prefix is to reveal something of importance within the sentence.

The Early Semitic evolved into the Middle Semitic by rotating the letter 90 degrees to the left. This letter then evolved into in the late Semitic script that developed into the Modern Hebrew ה. The Middle Semitic was adopted by the Greeks and the Romans to become the E (reversed due to the direction of writing). This Middle Semitic letter also became the number 5.

Semitic Script Charts