How to read the working/business hours signs in Hebrew

In this article, we will learn about letters in Hebrew that can appear by themselves as words in a sentence.

In European languages, a letter can stand on its own, a letter can appear alone in a sentence. Like the letter ”A”  in the sentence  “This is a dog”  in English. there are some examples in French as well like “je viens a paris”

As you all should already know, this is not the case in Hebrew. But there are some special exceptions.

The first and most important exception is the letter “ה“.

The letter –ה– when appears alone in a sentence normally is been used as a substitute for the word God.

So the sentence – בעזרת ה – means: in/with the help of God

So if you see a- ‘ה you can almost always replace it with the word God.

The reason for this strange phenomena is the reluctant of religious people to write the full name of God.

So they use the letter ‘ה instead of writing the name of God. as you can see in the image above.


Another way that we use single letters as words is when we refer to ‘the days of the week’.

working hours sign in Hebrew

So Sunday which is the first day of the week. Is in Hebrew ‘יום א the word יום means a day in Hebrew and normally it will appear before the letter.

(To learn more about ‘the days of the week’ check this post link.

And if you don’t know the Hebrew alphabet.This link to a video tutorial is a good place to start)

Sunday: ‘יום א

Monday is: ‘יום ב

Before we go on please note that the order of the days from the beginning of the week until Friday is with perfect correlation with the order of the Hebrew alphabet. So Sunday which is the first day of the week get the letter א to represent it. The letter א is the letter that starts the Hebrew alphabet.

In the same manner, Monday get the letter ב which is the second letter of the alphabet.

Tuesday will be ‘יום ג which is the third letter of the alphabet.

Wednesday will be ‘יום ד which is the fourth letter of the alphabet.

Thursday will be ‘יום ה which is the fifth letter of the alphabet.

Friday will be ‘יום ו which is the six letter of the alphabet.

Saturday is the only exception I which we use for short the letter ש which is the letter that starts the word שבת – “Shabat” which is Saturday.

So Saturday will be ‘יום ש

In Hebrew, you can see these phenomena especially in signs that announce the opening/working hours of establishments like, banks, government institutes, private businesses and more.

See the images above to get the idea. and see if you can understand them now!

Those examples are the ones that you most likely to encounter in Hebrew.

But there are some other examples of writing the date according to the Jewish calendar which combines from letters and not numbers.

FYI: besides really religious, people in Israel use numbers to mark a date like the rest of the world. But we do use them to mark the dates of our holidays. And sometimes you can see the Hebrew date along side the Gregorian calendar.

As you can see from the image below where the Hebrew date is written in small under the Gregorian date. the screenshot was taken from the popular Israeli news site YNT. (I circled it in red for you)

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