When I was a little child, I remember being taught that each of the Hebrew letters had a corresponding body part. I am sure I learned what they were at the time, but I've long forgotten most of them.

When I try to look for information on this, I can find a lot of people mentioning the concept, but not an actual list of which letters were for each body part.

Can anyone guide me?

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    There is an Artscroll book that may have what you're looking for (although it's been a while since I read it, so I'm not certain): artscroll.com/Books/9781422610367.html – Salmononius2 May 29 '19 at 21:46
  • @mods who deleted that comment about this perhaps being a memory aid for children. Why do you not consider such a possibility? There isn’t much to go off of in the OP to rule it out. – Dr. Shmuel May 29 '19 at 23:36
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    Certain letters may have been named after body parts, directly. Yod = hand; kaf = palm; ayin = eye; peh = mouth; resh = head; shin = tooth. – DanF May 30 '19 at 0:58
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    @Salmononius2 I own the book and I don't remember it touching this at all. – ezra May 30 '19 at 2:34
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    @Dr.Shmuel is right, it was as a memory aid for when I was a child. I would be interested to have seen the deleted comment! – Alpehbet May 30 '19 at 3:31

You may be looking for a concept discussed in Sefer Yetzirah. I don't have a proper copy nearby, so this excerpt (presumably the first section) from a Tikun Leil Shavuos may be helpful:

קשר עשרים ושתים אותיות התורה בלשונו וכו'.‏ אויר רויה גויה, ארץ קר וחום ובטן, ושמים ראש, זהו אמ"ש:‏
שבתאי, שבת, ופה. צדק, אחד בשבת, ועין ימין. מאדים, שני בשבת, ועין שמאל. חמה, שלישי בשבת, ואף ימין. נגה, רביעי בשבת, ואף שמאל. כוכב, חמישי בשבת, ואזן ימין. לבנה ,ששי בשבת ואזן שמאל. זה בג"ד כפר"ת:‏
ואלה שנים עשר מזלות: טלה, ניסן, כבד. שור, אייר, מרה. תאומים, סיון, טחול. סרטן, תמוז, המסס. אריה, אב, כוליא ימין. בתולה, אלול, כוליא שמאל. מאזנים, תשרי, קרקבן. עקרב, מרחשון, קבה. קשת, כסלו, יד ימין. גדי, טבת, יד שמאל. דלי, שבט, רגל ימין. דגים, אדר, רגל שמאל. זהו ה"ו, ז"ח, ט"י, ל"ן, ס"ע, צ"ק.‏

This works out to be something to the effect of (translation mine, on the fly): Aleph - the גויה; bet - mouth; gimel - right eye; daled - left eye; hei - liver; vav - the מרה (humor); zayin - the טחול; ches - the מסס; tes - right kidney; yod - left kidney; kof - right nostril; lamed - the קרקבן; mem - abdomen; nun - the קבה; samech - right hand; ayin - left hand; pei - left nostril; tzadi - right foot; kuf - left foot; reish - right ear; shin - head; tav - left ear.

The B'nei Yissoschor quotes the Sefer Yetzira in the first chapter for each month, and explains the connection between the month, zodiac sign, organ, and letter.

It is possible (likely?) that the list you learned as a child is entirely different, but I believe this list is somewhat authoritative.

  • I don’t think even the gaon learned Sefer yetizrah as a kid; could be wrong though – Dr. Shmuel May 29 '19 at 23:18
  • @Dr.Shmuel The Vilna Gaon? I suspect he at least recited Tikun. However, this is a possible list, that could have been taught separately. It's a list, at least. – Menachem May 29 '19 at 23:22
  • Sorry, I missed that part. You’re right. (Also, it’s not a stretch, Vilna Gaon did a lot in his childhood) – Dr. Shmuel May 29 '19 at 23:25
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    Ahhh, yes, this is exactly it! My mother taught me a little dance that I could do when I recited it and this certainly corresponds to what I remember of that. Thank you! – Alpehbet May 30 '19 at 3:30

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