HE (Heb. הֵא ;ה) the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; its numerical value is therefore 5; pronounced as a fricative laryngeal. The earliest Proto-Canaanite form of the he is a pictograph of a calling (or praying) man \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0685 , \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0686 . This developed in South Arabic into \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0687 and in the Phoenician script into \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0688 . Variants of the latter form survived in the Hebrew \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0689 , Samaritan \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0690 , and Greek (and Latin) "E", where it became the vowel epsilon. The Aramaic he unified the two lower horizontal bars into one vertical \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0691 . This form was adopted by the Jewish script, but later the left vertical separated from the upper horizontal stroke \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0692 . The Natatean he joined the two downstrokes \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0693 and thus the Arabic \!ejud\_0002\_0008\_0\_img0694 developed. ה׳ is used as an abbreviation for the Divine Name. It is also frequently found on amulets where it signifies the five fingers of the hand. See Alphabet, Hebrew . (Joseph Naveh)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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