YOD (Heb. י; יוֹד, יוּד), the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; its numerical value is therefore 10. The Proto-Canaanite form of this letter was a stylized pictograph of a hand (= yad) with forearm \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2281\>\> , \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2282\>\> . In the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.E., the yod developed into \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2283\>\> which basically did not change in the Hebrew ( \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2284\>\> , \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2285\>\> , \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2286\>\> ), Samaritan ( \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2287\>\> ), and Phoenician ( \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2288\>\> , \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2289\>\> ) scripts. However, the Aramaic cursive reduced it as follows: \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2290\>\> → \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2291\>\> → \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2292\>\> → \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2293\>\> and in the fourth and third centuries B.C.E. two variants evolved. One resembles the numeral "2" \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2294\>\> and the other has an inverted-v form \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2295\>\> . While the Nabatean developed the 2-shaped yod \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2296\>\> (which turned into the Arabic ya \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2297\>\> ), the Jewish script adopted the inverted-v shape and preserved the small size of the letter ( \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2298\>\> → \!ejud\_0002\_0021\_0\_img2299\>\> ), so it could be distinguished from the longer waw. From the old Phoenician yod, the Greek iota and the Latin "I" developed. See Alphabet, Hebrew\>\> . (Joseph Naveh)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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