Introduction to Hebrew Numbers
All about Numbers in Hebrew
If you ever wanted to learn the names of the Hebrew numbers, know how to count in Hebrew, or understand the Hebrew counting system, here is your chance! In this introduction to Hebrew numbering, you will learn how Hebrew uses different sets of numbers for different functions, when to use the masculine or feminine forms of Hebrew numbers, and much more.
Hebrew Numbers in Daily Activities
Knowing the Hebrew numbers and how to count in Hebrew are essential skills if you want to become fluent in Hebrew. If you think of the myriads of times each day we refer to numbers, you'll see how often numbers creep into our daily activities and thus how often numbers will come up even in simple Hebrew conversations. Whether you want to know what number bus to take to get around Israel, how to tell time in Hebrew, how to do your banking in Hebrew, how to use money to go shopping in Hebrew, how to count from one to ten or from one to a hundred or from one to a million in Hebrew, how to tell someone how old you are in Hebrew, how to ask for and understand a phone number in Hebrew, or how to say the Hebrew date or the year in Hebrew, you will be "counted" among the masters of the Hebrew language if you become an expert in the Hebrew number system.
The Value Number of Hebrew Letters
In addition to the Hebrew counting system, each letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value assigned to it. This system dates back to Temple times, when the rules for the Hebrew calendar system were established, and when our Sages used "Gematria" or Hebrew letter numerical values to glean important insights or hidden meanings in the Torah and other religious texts. Here is how it works in brief: there is no notation for "zero"; the first 10 letters of the Hebrew alphabet have the numerical values 1-10; the next nine letters are valued at 20, 30, 40, et cetera; the remaining Hebrew letters take on the values of 200, 300, and 400 – the latter assigned to tav, the last letter of the Hebrew Aleph Bet.
Hebrew Calendar Year
In Israel today, the digits we are accustomed to (1, 2, 3 … 9) are used most of the time (i.e., for counting money, age, and civil calendar dates). However Hebrew numerals are sometimes used for numbering lists (much like a, b, c, d), for copyright dates, and for the Hebrew calendar. For example, "Monday" in Modern Hebrew is Yom Sheni (literally "the Second Day"); however it is indicated on Hebrew calendars as Yom Bet, referring the numerical value of two assigned to bet, the second letter of the Hebrew Aleph Bet. Similarly, the Hebrew calendar year is indicated in Hebrew letters. Keeping in mind that the current Hebrew calendar year is 5771 and that the "5000" is generally dropped on calendars, the current year in Hebrew is tav-shin-ayin-aleph, the numerical equivalent of which is 771.
Hebrew Numbers and Gender
In Hebrew, numbers are conjugated by gender, taking on the masculine or feminine form of the object they modify.
5 sisters: chamesh achayot (feminine)
6 hours: shesh sha'ot (feminine)
10 shekels: assara shkalim (feminine)
For unspecified numbers (such as telling time, phone numbers, and bus numbers) always use the feminine form.
Hebrew Numbers 11 to 19
Here are the next Hebrew numbers to learn:
Hebrew Numbers 20 to 29
(You will use a similar format to count in Hebrew all the way up the number ladder)
Hebrew Numbers 30 and Up
From the number 30 and up, Hebrew numbers are conjugated only one way (using the feminine form):
Telling Time in HebrewWhen asked Ma ha'sha'a? (What time is it?), the answer might be (for example, 6 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and 12 o'clock): ha'sha'a shesh; ha'sha'a eser; ha'sha'a shtem-esre.
To indicate minutes after the hour, a half hour, or quarter of an hour, practice saying the following (7:20, 9:43, 6:30, 3:30, 2:15, 4:15): sheva ve'esrim, tesha arba'im ve'shalosh, shesh va'chetzi, shalosh va'chetzi, shtayim va'reva, arba va'reva.
To become an expert at counting in Hebrew, practice, practice, practice!
Hebrew Learning Articles
Hebrew Alphabet - Learn The Alef Bet
Hebrew Calendar and Months
Learn Hebrew Online
Download Hebrew Keyboard Layout Chart
Learn Hebrew Grammar
Learn the basics of Biblical Hebrew online
Hebrew Slang, Expressions and Idioms
Modern Hebrew Sayings